A Brief History of Biker Bill's Tigger Land Cat Sanctuary (BBTLCS)
BBTLCS was formed on April 1, 2009 and the initial officers and board members were Debby Carscallen; Ralph Lombard, Sherri Lombard and Brian McClure. The following is a brief history of the group.
During the early spring of 2009, one of Sherri Lombard's tax clients, Bill, asked what we, as animal rescuers, might do with a donated land parcel. This came up after Sherri told Bill about a young feral cat (Albert) that had been trapped in the Albertson's parking lot and was currently living at our house, primarily because there was no where for him to go, he certainly couldn't be released back into a busy parking lot. So, we discussed the possibility of creating a small feral cat sanctuary, specifically to address situations such as Albert's, and, on April 1, 2009, BBTLCS was born.
The name, Biker Bill's Tigger Land Cat Sanctuary, was chosen by Bill himself as we felt it was the right thing to do, i.e., give Bill naming rights, since he was donating the land that would allow us to create a sanctuary. Bill, being an avid biker (Harley's, of course) chose Biker Bill (one of his nicknames), then Tigger, in honor of his first cat, Land, (the plot of land to be donated was where Tigger's ashes were spread) and Sanctuary. We added the words Cat and Sanctuary to provide clarity.
We formed a Board of Directors and Officers, and Bill was asked to be a member of the board, which he accepted. We filed the required paperwork and were quickly approved as a 501(c)(3) organization, but had to wait for the IRS to provide a determination letter (usually a 6 month process if all the paperwork is in order) While we were waiting, we continued to talk with Bill and even began clearing a section of his property, that which he was going to donate. The property is located in the Lake Washington area of Melbourne. We also met with Bill and his attorney to discuss planned changes to Bill's estate. His attorney's only advice was that Bill should not make any changes until we received the IRS determination letter.
Later, we received an IRS request to make one, minor change to the BBTLCS Articles of Incorporation, which caused a minor (minor at the time it occurred; unfortunately this turned out to be a major factor in what later happened) delay in receiving our determination letter. Two days after we re-filed the paperwork, Bill suffered a severe stroke, from which he never recovered. We lost a good friend and, unfortunately, the land since Bill had never signed a letter of intent, nor modified his will.
On Sept. 12, the remaining members of the board met to discuss on-going plans. Two new members of the board were selected and approved, they being Dr. Connie Mengering and Shannon Pagano, and both subsequently accepted. We also discussed a name change, and selected The Last Chance Sanctuary and Humane Society to do business under. (Since we were incorporated as BBTLCS, it was easier (and cheaper) to be Doing Business As (DBA) The Last Chance Sanctuary (TLCS) and Humane Society rather than re-incorporate).
Currently, we have had discussions with and welcomed several new members to the group; been approved as "Adoption Partners" by PetSmart and Petco, are a member of Petfinder (FL919); authorized to purchase supplies from IDEXX, Home Again (Schering-Plough), Butler Medical Supply, a local distributor, and several major pet food makers.
The primary mission of BBTLCS is still to create a sanctuary for feral cats that have been displaced by the loss of their homes/colonies or are living in dangerous situations, etc. However, a secondary and very necessary mission is the rehoming of rescued cats, basically a continuation of the work we've all been doing for the past several years. As such, and because of the untimely death of our benefactor, we have shifted our focus to the secondary mission, at least for the near term. We want to establish and be successful with that mission, always keeping in mind that this part of our activities will also support the Sanctuary as there will, inevitably, be times when we take in cats that are not truly feral and find kittens born of feral moms, etc.