Woman Arrested for Running Fraudulent Wildlife Sanctuary

Officials in Palm Beach County, Florida arrested Heather K. Southworth for felony fraud after exposing her big cat rescue charity as a complete fabrication.


Her non-existent organization, called Rescue: Big Cat Organization, complete with a fictional website, location, staff, and convenient donation link, was outed by The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission when they attempted to visit the site and found that no such rescue exists.

While her website claimed that Rescue: Big Cat Organization was “home to over 150 of the world’s most endangered felines,” and that their facilities were “better than those found in most Zoos,” officials report that the whole thing was fabricated. Clearly the real “purrrr”pose of this organization had little to do with rescuing any big cats.

Donations to the organization went to a P.O. box registered to Southworth or to a Paypal account, but the exact amount that she made from the scam is so far unclear.

Scams like these injure the reputations of real rescue operations like Big Cat Rescue, located in Tampa Bay, FL and damage the credibility of environmental activists across the country. If you are passionate about the rescue or long-term care of large animals that are not in their natural habitat, please do your part to support quality operations.

Photo Credit: Rescue: Big Cat Org website Pictures page.

2 thoughts on “Woman Arrested for Running Fraudulent Wildlife Sanctuary”

  1. I’ve visited this website in the past, before it was exposed as a scam. I had not heard of this organization before, kudos to the FWC for their efforts!

  2. With rescue groups and sanctuaries working so hard with only private funding, this fiasco is just awful and one cn only hope she will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
    As a dedicated volunteer at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, I and 100+ other volunteers work tirelessly to provide great homes and care for our rescued big cats. Raising funds to do this is a challenge. We ARE an accredited sanctuary and I hope that any future discussion of this Heather Southworth criminal will make that distinction as clearly as you have today.
    Our website: http://www.BigCatRescue.org clearly shows our facility, it’s residents, our volunteers and our staff. We are the “real deal”.
    I look forward to a follow up on this article and pray justice will be served.
    This scam, using a name so similar to ours, is particularly offensive.

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