Franklin County Big Cat Refuge

A Franklin County man trying to save big cats in Texas has been charged with misdemeanor possession of a wild animal.

For six years, Charles Earhardt and his family have been working with abused and neglected lions and tigers in Texas trying to place them in refuges or private reserves. He most recently ran one in Galveston, but when he brought one lion and three tigers in three weeks ago to his Franklin County home and his tiger mountain refuge center, his neighbors understandably objected.

Other area homeowners are not upset about the cats being mistreated, they're well fed they're well taken care of. What they're upset about is the cats being here to begin with. Its a mostly weekend community near lake Bob Sandlin, and they didn't want any lions or tigers around.

A petition signed by numerous homeowners got the county involved, and according to a 2001 state code, Texas counties can decide whether someone can own a wild animal. Franklin County says no.

Earhardt pleaded not guilty to the charge. He intends to continue his work the help the big cats. A trial date has not been set yet.