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Charlie Sammut, One Of Our Board Members

Photo of Charlie Sammut with one of his African elephants


Charlie began his professional life as a deputy sheriff and a police officer for Monterey County Sheriff's Office and the City of Seaside. In 1987, he discontinued his work as a peace officer and entered the animal training industry full time.

In 1985, Charlie founded the California Animal Owners Association (CAOA), an effort to unify all Calif. Fish & Game licensees and formulate a minimum standard for the animals in California that were governed by California F&G Code. He was asked by the Dept. of F&G to sit on the Fish and Game Advisory Committee to help rewrite Title 61 of the Code to better the lives of the animals affected by it.

In 1994, Charlie purchased what is now the Vision Quest Ranch in Salinas, CA where his inventory of exotic animals reached approximately 170+. Oxton Kennels was moved to the property and continued to run as a dog and cat boarding facility along with a new equestrian center that was already on the property.

In 2001, Charlie started a Calif. 501(c)(3) non-profit elephant sanctuary on the property called Elephants of Africa Rescue Society (EARS) which is currently home to five African Elephants, all retired from the entertainment industries.

In 2003, Charlie made another attempt to unify the animal owners of California by starting the International Animal Welfare Association (IAWA), a non-profit organization which currently monitors animal issues and protects the responsible ownership of exotic animals in California. He is the President of the IAWA board of directors.

Also in 2003, Charlie was again asked to sit on the California Animal Advisory Committee for the Calif. Dept. of Fish and Game, a seat he currently holds today. At this time he joined the board of WCE&CF.

Although Charlie still participates in select projects in the film and television industry, his true goals are maintaining the education programs and elephant sanctuary at his facilities.


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