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tv   Strange Inheritance  FOX News  April 4, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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you. do you have a strange inheritance story you would like to share with us? we would love to hear it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. >> a sanctuary for exotic a sanctuary for exotic animals. >> he is doing good. >> the call of the wild. >> rescued by quite an odd duck himself. >> 26,000 pounds of chicken or beef every week. >> what was his reputation? >> wild man. >> is he a guy who plays by the ru rules? >> no. >> when he dies, the authorities want to shut his heir down. >> they left you with a mess. >> will it cost his widow her strange inheritance? >> i didn't go through everything just to see it
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change. jamie: i'm jamie colby. today, i'm i'm jamie colby, and today i'm in southwest florida driving through the marsh outside punta gorda. sometimes they can bring a huge mess to clean up. >> in 2005, i inherited a wildlife sanctuary from my husband, and it continues to be wild every single day. >> hi lori. >> hi. >> i'm jamie, nice to meet you. >> great to meet you at this animal retirement home? >> yes, it's pretty much like a nursing home retirement village. we're not talking about kitty cats. i heard a roar already.
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>> as lori gives me abide the scenes tour, i catch a look at the 100-plus creatures that currently live at the wildlife sanctuary. lori tells me every animal here is a rescue. at one time abused or abandoned, that would otherwise be euthanized. animals like lily, a black leopard saved from a closed down breeding zoo are given a second lease on life. >> look at her eyes, isn't she beautiful? >> is she purring? >> yes, she is purring right now. right now that is a purr. >> and this is onyx, an abused bengal tiger rescued five years ago. >> they were going to euthanize him. >> onyx continues to struggle with painful stomach issues. now he is fed a special diet to
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help reduce the side effects. i just hope tv host is not on today's menu. >> if you want to be very safe, watch his mouth and your fingers at all times. note that i have ten fingers, and i still have mine after 22 years. >> the first one i'll do -- >> kind of watch me here. >> bones and all? >> bones and all. >> okay, my turn. >> and now if you want, just start to throw the rest in there. >> lori assures me her fences exceed state and federal codes, which is comforting when it's the only thing between you and a 500 pound hungry tiger. >> onyx, i'm your new best friend. >> okay, the way to an animal's heart is through their stomach. >> oh, my gosh! >> yeah. >> so you have 100 animals like this? >> yes, absolutely. and each one of these animals had a story of what they went through. >> and so does lori.
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26 years old and just divorced, she relocates from illinois to southwest florida in 1993. a few weeks later, she shows up at octagon as a volunteer. >> when i first walked through the gates i never looked back. >> it's then that lori first takes note of the 5 of 4-year-old eccentric owner, pete caron, he was her attorney and friend for over 50 years. >> he was a unique character. people recognized him by his hat and rough voice. >> we used like 26,000 pounds of chicken or beef every six weeks. so you know that is just the chicken and beef part. that is not all the rest of it. >> he was never too busy to stop and talk about his animals. this was his life. >> all right, i need to get some rubbing in. >> like lori, pete also went south in search of a fresh start. back in 1970, the former air
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force pilot and his retired father moved here from new hampshire and bought ten acres of secluded undeveloped land. as they determine what to do, they come knocking with big hairy paws. florida wildlife officials come across two bears, in a broken down trail. not just any bears, these were actors left behind after a hit tv series, the state considered euthanizing them, until pete stepped in. he had worked at a wildlife sanctuary years before, now he figured he wouldtart his own. he tells state officials, i'll take those bears. within 72 hours, pete and his father have an enclosure built and lure the bears into the cage with a blueberry pie.
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pete is soon licenseddle the exotic animals and becomes the go-to buy when creatures are abandoned or abused. lori worked as a state official for years. over that time, he brought more than 60 animals to the sanctuary. >> why did you pick here? >> at that time, there was no lace the place i could take the animals to. >> what kind of reaction did you get from pete, when you told him you had an exotic animal? >> it didn't matter what time of day or night, he would help. >> i feel like i'm the ugliest surrogate father in the world. >> so why did he do it? >> he just had a real care for the animals. if had he had to put an animal down, he was really upset. >> when you feed and care for an
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animal for six or seven years and then lose them, it's -- you can't describe the loss of a friend. >> but he doesn't share the same love for the state and wildlife officials checking to see the animals are okay. >> but he doesn't care for the authorities. what was his reputation? >> wild man. >> was he a guy who played by the rules? >> no. >> did pete have problems with the government? >> he thought some of their rules were silly, so he would challenge the silly rules. >> challenge is putting it lightly. when pete had enough with the inspectors, he is known to tap his gun and say i think we're done here for today. >> was he a bully? >> he was not a bully, but he was very forceful. it was his way or the highway basically. >> pete's abrasive attitude
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resulted in officials being particularly tough on the sanctuary. >> we would end up in court for minor events. a water cage in a lion's pen was dirty. the food in the freezer was not raised off the floor. >> when you walk into court, did any of the judges say oh, here we go again? >> yes, one just shook his head and thought that the government kept picking on pete. >> whether they're nitpicking or not, the sanctuary is not without incidents. any animals ever escape? >> back years ago, we had hippos out in the front pond, and one of them decided to take a walk. >> after busting through the sanctuary fencing, the hippo finds its way to a nearby swimming pool. the shocked neighbor called authorities claiming the dinosaur had taken over in the back yard. he quickly gets the animal back home before any damage is done. but as much as pete ignored and
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even battled government officials, they turned to him when an animal is in trouble. it sounds like you and pete butted heads a bit. was it worth it? >> oh, absolutely, we need places like this, rather than to go ahead and euthanize them. >> there is someone who wants to tame pete. that passionate volunteer from illinois. >> we were actually doing a lot of rescuing together. and it seemed to work really well. and then we decided yeah, let's take it another step. >> despite their 28-year age difference and the fact that pete is twice divorced with three adult children, lori and pete start to date. then a health crisis throws the future of this wildlife into doubt. >> my kids will sell this place, the animals will be euthanized, and that will be it. >> that is unless pete can find another heir.
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>> was it a real marriage or a marriage of convenience to save the sanctuary? >> that is next. >> but first, our inheritance question, which exotic animal is kept as a pet in greater number than exists in the wild? is it tigers, brown bears or orangutans? the answer up next. dr. scholl's freeze away wipes 'em out fast with as few as one treatment. freeze away! dr. scholl's. the #1 selling freeze brand. don't hide it... tackle it with fda-approved jublia! jublia is a prescription medicine proven to treat toenail fungus. use jublia as instructed by your doctor. once applied, jublia gets to the site of infection by going under, around, and through the nail. most common side effects include ingrown toenail, application-site redness, itching, swelling, burning or stinging, blisters, and pain. tackle it!
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which exotic animal is kept as a pet in greater numbers than exist in the wild? it's a, tigers, as many as 7,000 tigers are kept as pets in the u.s., while only 3,000 are found in the wild. for decades, pete corons's wildlife sanctuary was a spot for abused and neglected animals, along with his trusted adviser and girlfriend, lori, who take in animals that would otherwise be euthanized. for example, these bears. >> the trainer was using a pipe to train them. >> lori uses a gentler training tool, donuts. >> one of my other trainers taught them sign language. to the point where if he was hungry for a sweet, he would actually let you know with this little gesture of please. >> let's see if i have the magic touch, too.
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oh, that was sign language. for donut, please. >> yes. >> i think i'm getting the hang of this. >> you're doing well. >> look, i still have ten. but things are not going so well for the sanctuary. in the year 2000, when pete, now in his 60s, is diagnosed with coronary heart disease, the crisis forces pete to think about what will happen to his beloved sanctuary when he is gone. >> he said my kids will sell this place, the animals will be euthanized, and that will be it. >> while pete doesn't bother with a will, he wants to have a plan, making lori his legal heir and put the place safe. >> what did pete give you as an engagement gift, an orangutan? >> you would think so.
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>> so they marry in 2002. >> was it a real marriage or one of convenience? >> i think it was one of convenience, there was definitely love and respect there. but we knew at that point anybody else would come in and try to tear down his dream. and mine. because it had become mine, too. >> in june of 2003, pete's health got worse and he has triple bypass surgery. >> he actually was in the hospital for about a total of two or three months. >> lori takes over day to day operations of the sanctuary. it is then that she starts to sense the challenges that lie ahead. >> i think i always knew there was going to be a lot of trouble when he passed just because of the way that he would always handle things with fish and wildlife. >> pete has earned a reputation with government officials, as confrontational and hostile. wildlife inspectors even show up
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with police escorts. >> they felt their life was in danger sometimes. >> not because of the animals? >> because of pete. >> they cite octagons time and time again, whether they're being hard on him or not, lori tells pete he is not helping. >> i said somebody else is going to have to deal with the messes that you are deciding here, he said let it be somebody else's problem, i said hello, that is going to be me. in 2003, pete dies in lori's arms, he is 66 years old. overnight, lori becomes the leader of the octagon, her strange inheritance. >> that is when anger just hits. i was not ready for him to go at that point. i think it was also fear because i knew, okay, here comes the test. >> lori is determined to carry on pete's work, but it will be much harder than she ever
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thought. >> we were an hour away from losing octagon completely. >> that is next. >> here's another quiz question for you. wh >> here is another quiz question for you, which is more dangerous to humans? a lion, hyena, or hippopotamus? the answer in a moment. better? yeah...thanks for the tip!
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♪ >> so which is more dangerous toto humans? it's c, hippopotamus.? they appear to be general glazers but hippos are highly aggressive and have been known to attack humans without provocation. >> after her husband pete's dealt in 2005 lori carone is struggling to run the florida wildlife sanctuary with more than 200 animals that he left
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behind. money is tight and relationships with state and federal inspectors strained. >> pete didn't always make friends doing this. >> no, he burned a lot of bridges. >> within days of pete's funeral, lori is already feeling the heat. octagon is hit with a surprise visit from the u.s. department of agriculture, which enforces standards of care and treatment for animals exhibited to the public. the authorities say that lori must fix conditions that put the public and the animals in danger. she thinks they're just out for blood after years of butting heads with pete. >> one inspector was like, if you don't get your fence fixed, i'm closing you now. if the fence have been okay for 30 years. >> reporter: lori frantically seeks outdo nations, so she can build a new fence. but her problems only get worse when she digs through octagon's paperwork.
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lori comes across four years worth of property tax bills unpaid. >> left you with a mess? >> yes. >> reporter: the amount due is $7,400, money lori doesn't have in the bank. >> i'm thinking, what do we do? . i didn't go through everything all those years prior to that to just give up. >> reporter: with lori unable to cover the taxes, octagon board member sherry pate and her husband graciously offer to cover the debt. when they arrive at the courthouse -- >> we laid down the property taxes and the woman said, well, that's funny, we just sent this over to the lawyer yesterday. >> reporter: county officials are about to put the property up for auction. but finally, a stroke of luck. they hadn't yet gotten to octagon's paperwork. >> she just kind of shook her head and said you realize if you would have waited another day, this property would have been gone. >> that would have been the end right there. we would have lost the whole
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sanctuary. >> reporter: lori also beats the clock with the fencing thanks to timely donations from local businesses. but even with the 11th hour bailout lori faces one more crisis, when a would be whistle-blower drops a dime on octagon. >> at times i would shake my head and i would be in tears thinking, what am i doing, can i do this? >> reporter: that's next. it. but when i started having back pain, my sister had to come help. i don't like asking for help. i took tylenol but i had to take six pills to get through the day. so my daughter brought over some aleve. it's just two pills, all day! and now, i'm back! aleve. two pills. all day strong, all day long. and for a good night's rest, try aleve pm for a better am.
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thank you in 2005 lori carone's husband pete dies and leaves her his octagon wildlife sanctuary along with a parade of problems for her to resolve. she's already been tested by florida wildlife officials and delinquent property taxes. the headaches of pete's past just keep coming. >> the irs also came knocking. >> yeah. they showed up and said, well, we're here to do an audit. apparently somebody called and said that even being a
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non-profit we weren't doing anything with our non-profit. that we also had zero animals here. >> reporter: lori assumes the call came from an adversary of pete's to cause trouble for the sanctuary but the irs finds no misuse of funds. since then, lori has made it her mission to do all the repairs needed at octagon, including to the relationships pete damaged. >> i really strive to show that we are trying to do the best we can and get out of that shadow. >> reporter: she also has to keep the wolfes from octagon's doorstep and her own. the animals need 700 pounds of food every day and operating costs average $7,000 a month. and it's all on lori's shoulders to bring in donations and grants as well as entrance fees from 30,000 annual visitors. none of the 40 sanctuary workers take a salary, including lori who lives in a small trailer
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right on the property. >> do you ever have a day where you think, i'm not going to have enough food to feed these animals? >> absolutely. >> what's that like? >> it's horrifying. >> do you think you're going to be able to pull it off? >> yeah. you know, it's -- >> for you, for pete, or for the animals? >> the animals. you know, i'm not one to give up easy. >> reporter: it's a good thing that lori is a fighter because there will always be animals like onks who is once near death that need octagon. >> how is his health now? >> he's doing good and very vocal. call of the wild. >> yeah. >> wow, i'm so glad that he made it. what do you think pete is saying right now? >> you know, i'm hoping he's proud. i never expected that pete would have passed as soon as he did but i didn't go through everything to give up and to give up on pete's dream and all
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of these animals. >> reporter: lori and pete worked side by side for years here at octagon, before they started dating. but is it possible the wild beasts were on to them before they were even on to themselves? several years before lori came on the scene, pete had taken in a bamboo named max from the circus. max instantly formed a bond with pete. then young lori shows up and every time max sees her working with pete, the poor guy starts acting out badly. in his jealous rage, max begins to toss his droppings at lori with impeccable aim and lori says that gave her pause, so to speak, to wonder if something might just be going on between pete and herself. i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance." thanks so much for watching. and remember, you can't take it with you.
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do you have a strange inheritance story you would like to share with us? we would love to hear it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. hello and welcome to justice, i'm judge jeanine pirro. thanks for being with us. tonight is going to be a little different. with so much going on in the world i just have to do two opening statements. you won't warrant to miss my op on hillary clinton and those pesky e-mails later in the show, but first to iran. now, i want to congratulate president obama for the framework of this historic deal. on this weekend that holds such religious significance to so many of us around the world, i want to be chacharitable in my discussion. the effort to maintain peace in the middle east, hotbed of instability, with the world's major

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