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By Marcy Shortuse Photos by Christine Cunningham You would never believe there is a place only about 90 minutes away where the lions do lay down with the lambs. A place where peacocks scream and live with lemurs and where bears are … well, they’re still bears and they don’t lay down next to anybody. It’s a place called Lions, Tigers & Bears, and it’s located north of Arcadia off Highway 17. You’ll turn left at the Arcadia Stockyard, the biggest sale barn in all of Florida. Anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 head of cattle pass through there twice a week, which seems odd considering there are so many big predators living right around the corner. Lynn and Dennis Wittmeier are the owners of the sanctuary that so many animals call home. The property is more than 40 acres in total, and every bit of it is utilized. When you pull through the main gate you will more than likely be inundated by peacocks and cats, so be prepared. The peacocks will be screaming, as it’s their job to be the gate sentries. Once the peacocks get going the gibbon monkeys might begin their siren song as well, notifying every living thing on the property of a new arrival. There is no stealthy entrance here, so be prepared. “Those gibbons can be heard over at the stockyard,” Lynn said, pointing far down the road. One of them came from a housing development in Tampa, but his owner was told he had to go because of the


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