Shadow’s Story

shadowShadow is a healthy 17-year-old black leopard that was rescued by the Peninsula SPCA from euthanasia at 10 weeks old due to an injured paw. Staff worked with a local veterinarian to heal Shadow’s injury and he has been raised his entire life at the Peninsula SPCA.

Today, Shadow spends his days basking in the sun, oftentimes belly up or lounging on one of his 18 perches that line his 2,250-square-foot habitat. Every day since 1999, Billy, the shelter’s Petting Zoo Manager has provided personal care for Shadow, even bottle feeding him in his early days at the shelter. He loves for Billy to scratch him behind the ears and looks forward to receiving new toys and food treats on a regular basis.

The PSPCA previously served as a sanctuary for abandoned exotic animals. In 1973, the executive director received a call about a lion that had been left tied to a pole to advertise a local karate school. The shelter’s staff retrieved the lion and brought it back to the shelter to care for it.  Soon word started to spread about the growing exotic animal sanctuary at the Peninsula SPCA, and animal “refugees,” including tigers and mountain lions, began to arrive at the facility from various departments of the federal government, traveling circuses, zoos and even local owners.

Today, the current board of directors and administration recognize this is not core to our mission but have committed to doing what is in the best interest of Shadow, who is the last remaining member of the exotic animal sanctuary.

Shadow2Multiple veterinarians over the years have recommended that Shadow live out his life in his current environment, which is the only home he has known. We have revisited what is in Shadow’s best interest on numerous occasions, and experts continue to recommend that Shadow remain at the PSPCA where he is comfortable and receiving quality care from people he knows.

The Peninsula SPCA Humane Education program teaches compassion, responsibility, safety and care for animals. It is the goal of the board and administration that through education, we can end animal overpopulation on the Peninsula and certainly prevent future exotic animals being kept as pets in our community.



Key facts about Shadow and his life at PSPCA

  • Shadow’s habitat encompasses 2,250 square feet with 18 perches and 4 enclosed box shelters, which allow him ample opportunities to climb or retreat when desired.
  • Shadow is provided ongoing enrichment activities and high-quality food and veterinary care.
  • Leopards are solitary, preferring to live alone.
  • Average life expectancy of a black leopard in captivity is 20 years.
  • The PSPCA Petting Zoo is inspected annually by the USDA to ensure compliance with the Animal Welfare Act which mandates sanitary conditions, sufficient enclosures, proper vet care, appropriate feed, and the like.