The Animal House Zoological Society Sanctuary, near Moulton, Alabama, is home to 300 animals from more than 100 different species. Owner Carolyn Atchison began rescuing tigers 17 years ago with the intent of giving the animals a better life. Permits from the U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the state of Alabama allow the sanctuary to care for endangered species and ensure their security and sanitation. They also care for native wildlife here.
The sanctuary is located on the Atchison family property. It was when she rescued two baby grizzly bears in 1988 that people began to request visits. The bears, Yogi and BooBoo, were rescued just moments from being euthanized and taken to a processing plant. A Florida circus had abandoned them because overseas permits were too costly. Yogi and BooBoo are part of the family -- well taken care of by Carolyn.
People began to come and Carolyn never charged. As the family grew so did expenses. Local and state agencies that regulate animal control and the illegal dealing in exotics began to come to Carolyn for help and still do. Often these agencies have left animals at the Sanctuary that were illegally obtained, abandoned, and considered public safety hazards. Other animals have come to the Sanctuary through national undercover rescue operations that Carolyn was involved in through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She is frequently asked to consult with these agencies and the media on issues related to the serious problem in the United States concerning the illegal breeding and selling of exotic animals. Her dedication and expertise to this cause continues to garner national media attention.
Tales of the treatment the animals received before Carolyn intervened reflect the brutal side of the human race in such a way that you cannot turn your back on it. That is what drives her to devote her life to the sanctuary.
The Sanctuary was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation and opened for escorted tours in 1993. It was necessary to do this to help pay for the animal's food bill and utilities, which can top out at $300 per day. Now, school children and tour groups from all over Alabama and neighboring states have the opportunity to get up close and personal with animals they may have never had a chance to see (THE SANCTUARY FAMILY). Carolyn pay's for the animal rescue, upkeep, and property improvements and her personal assets have been totally depleted. Income from the gate and gift shop does not begin to make a dent in the costs.