Terrell Couple Rescues Big Cats

PrideRock Wildlife Refuge is a labor of love for husband-wife team

Gary and Carol Holliman have pretty much given over their lives to the care and protection of animals.

On their property in Terrell, they keep rescued dogs and some wolf hybrids, too. But at the center of it all are the big cats.

PrideRock Widlife Refuge has 27 big cats -- 13 tigers, seven lions and seven cougars. It all started with a lion cub they bought as a pet, something they say they would never advocate now.

"All of these animals deserve to be in their native country," Carol Holliman said. "But there's such a problem right now. People are still breeding, like right now. And most of them end up in either bad situations or being put down. So, there's definitely more of a need than there should be."

PrideRock gets public donations, but the Hollimans have regular jobs. Gary Holliman is an attorney. And his wife is a legal secretary at a downtown Dallas law firm.

Every day after work, they spend three hours feeding the animals. The cats eat about 250 pounds of meat each day. Volunteers help with upkeep.

"Fifteen, 16 years ago, you could open up the paper and find these cats for sale," the couple said.

When their lion cub, Gabe, got too big and possibly dangerous, they made an alternate plan. They decided to build a special enclosure for him in their yard. Soon, they discovered there were many other exotic pets that needed help.

"Somebody would call us and say, 'Hey, my friend has a tiger that they've got to get rid of, will have to put it down, would you take it?" Gary Holliman said. "So one led to another, and it just grew and grew."

They've been married 24 years, and say neither could do this without the other.

PrideRock is not open to the public.

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