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Alpine's Lions Tigers and Bears steps in to help abandoned tiger in Oklahoma

The tiger named Kallie was found abandoned, horribly declawed and with a broken leg. Thankfully, Alpine's Lions, Tigers, and Bears stepped in to help. KPBS reporter John Carroll tells us about what the organizations is doing to improve Kallie's condition.

It’s hard to imagine how anyone could be so cruel as to leave an animal locked in a cage and left to die. In Oklahoma, Kallie the tiger was once a part of a roadside rural zoo until she was abandoned.

Fortunately, someone saw her and called for help. That was last summer. The call for help eventually came to Lions Tigers and Bears founder Bobbi Brink.

“She had some serious issues with her feet and legs. So we know she’s had a terrible declaw, but now we got her on the meds and got her stable," Brink said.

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Lions, Tigers and Bears
Lions, Tigers and Bears founder and director Bobbi Brink is shown hauling a trailer containing Kallie the tiger away from where she was found abandoned in rural Oklahoma in this undated photo.

Kallie also has a fractured leg and needs surgery. So, she’ll be headed down to San Diego this weekend for treatment.

Brink said she’ll first get a CT scan, then likely head right into the operating room. She said there’s only a 50-50 chance the surgery will be successful.

“She can’t go on like this, so we want to push forward and do everything that we can possibly for her and hopefully it works and relieves a lot of the pain for her ... This will cost at least $15,000 ... And then of course, we’ve got the aftercare when we get her back home," Brink explained.

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Lions, Tigers and Bears
Kallie the tiger is shown under anesthesia being checked out by veterinarians in this undated photo.

Kallie’s story is emblematic of what most of the animals at Lions Tigers and Bears have endured — used for amusement before they were abandoned.

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Lions, Tigers and Bears
Kallie the tiger is shown in her den at Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine in this undated photo.

The lucky animals that end up here have a life as good as it could be. But, Brink’s mission goes beyond saving these animals.

“We’re trying to stop the exotic animal trade. I don’t think people realize it’s second to drugs and weapons and human trafficking in our country, and these animals are just bought and sold for nothing more than profit, and there’s not much penalty, or it’s really hard to get these people in trouble," said Brink.

But she and her supporters have been working on that, and they’ve had some success.

“When I first started Lions Tigers and Bears in 2002, (in) 26 states (it was) perfectly legal to have a lion, tiger, a rhino, whatever you want. So we’re down to about five states now," Brink said.

Lions, Tigers and Bears survives primarily on donations. If you aren’t in a position to give, Brink said she’s grateful if people just share the Lions Tigers and Bears story on social media. Anything for these abused animals to have a decent life and to — at long last — bring an end to trafficking beautiful creatures like Kallie.