Thursday, May 19, 2005

UPDATE: Highland Avenue Structure

Thanks to the help of readers, I have more information regarding the odd structure on Highland Avenue that was discussed last Tuesday.

Apparently, Bert Wahl owns this building and at one point ran a business "rescuing" and selling big cats, including lions, tigers, and cougars. However, in 1997 the business, Wildlife Rescue Inc., was cited for violating the Animal Welfare Act by the USDA. The inspectors claimed that Mr. Wahl was leaving his cats in poor conditions (which are obvious by the photos I posted previously). Since this was the first offense of Wildlife Rescue and Mr. Wahl, the USDA let him off relatively easy with a $1000 fine and a cease and desist order.

But this wasn't enough for the animal abuser. Bert Wahl continued running an illegal and unlicensed business while keeping his animals (merchandise) in poor conditions and in 2000 he was again cited for violations of the Animal Welfare act by the USDA.

While there are no longer any animals, at least in view, at the premises, Mr. Wahl may still be around the area. After looking his name up on the HC Property Appraiser website, 2 properties were found to belong to him - both in very close proximity.
I walked by the first of these properties and quickly realized that they weren't simply in close proximity - they were directly next to each other!

This is the view from the street in front of the second property -

And this is the view from the side of the house

You can clearly see from these photos that the structure I posted previously is directly behind the other home. Therefore, I assume that Mr. Wahl used (or uses) the yellow home as his residence and once used the brown home to keep the cats and supplies. Now that he can no longer do that, at least in plain view, the structure sits abandoned, dilapidated and falling apart.

An anonymous comment included these links:


CT said...

This wasn't Wild Life on Easy Street, was it? Another in-town wildlife refuge, exclusively big cats (pumas, tigers, etc.). I remember it shut down sometime around the turn of the century.

(I could probably find out myself, but I'm too lazy at the moment to research it.)

Seminole Heights said...

Wild Life on Easy Street is up in Citrus Park. That is still running even though the owner disappeared or died under mysterious circumstances

Gonzo said...

Thanks for the info. The house is actually on Hiawatha and Highland. I live down the street and always wondered about it. I think Mr. Wahl lets it rot to get back at the city and people who shut him down.

I think it's a health hazard at this point.

Neil said...

Good appears to be coming down. The front half is already down.

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