Kari Toth

Kari brings with her over 35 years of animal experience and was involved with animals from a very young age, an interest that was supported by her parents.  When she and her parents moved to 5 acres in Oregon when she was in sixth grade she was finally able to have the animals she wanted.  First (of course) came the horse and countless 4-H shows, training clinics, endurance and trail rides.  Kari then got into 4-H where she raised and showed market hogs at the fair, one year even winning Grand Champion!

After seeing an article in People magazine about this really amazing program called EATM (Exotic Animal Training and Management) at Moorpark College she knew exactly where she wanted to go after graduating.  She and her mother asked for an application to that school and she excitedly applied.  Because of the timing and the limited amount of students (only 60 then) accepted each year she also registered at Oregon State University for the Pre-Veterinary program just in case.

Luckily she was accepted at Moorpark, graduating in 1983.  She then went to work at the Magic Mountain animal farm and the Animal Chatter Show handling, maintaining, and training many different species of animals.  She was also lucky enough to be able to spend a great deal of time volunteering with the dolphin show where her future husband worked.  After Magic Mountain Kari worked as a Recreational Assistant at the Los Angeles Zoo Koala House.  It was here she was able to learn a great deal about animals you don’t usually get to spend a lot of time with; Koalas, Echidnas, and Sugar Gliders just to name a few.  The Recreational Assistant program was terminated at the zoo but it was just about the time Nick was offered the marine mammal training position at Marine World Africa USA in Northern California.  Kari moved as well and was hired as a zookeeper at the San Jose Zoo.  She worked as a keeper for the summer of 1985 but tragedy struck and Nicks father passed away suddenly.  Kari and Nick moved back to Palmdale to help run the family business, a studio animal training facility called Cougar Hill Ranch.

Cougar Hill Ranch supplies animals for the Motion Picture Industry.  These animals include deer, cougars, wolves, reptiles, as well as birds of prey.  It was here where Kari gained thousands of hours of valuable experience as she and Nick literally lived with the animals.  During baby season they could be found with up to 33 different bottle babies being taken care of round the clock in the one bedroom mobile home.  These included cougars, wolves, deer, and even owls who hung out on the curtain rod!  They truly ate, slept (or didn’t sleep!), and breathed animals.  This is not a lifestyle but a way of life.

Nick and Kari started a family and moved to a small house just down the road from the ranch.  This place became the secondary training facility for the ranch as well as an evacuation place in case of fire or flood.  Kari went to work for Natural Balance Pet Foods where she was a Dog Show Sales Representative for many years.  Her boss was very understanding of the animal industry and she was still able to do on set animal work when needed.

After leaving Natural Balance (company was sold) Kari went back to the animal industry full on doing private training, on set training, as well as working for Movie Animals Protected as an on set Animal Safety Monitor.  Currently she is still working with the animals and has recently started working as a Snake Safety protecting crews from rattle snakes in locations where that is a concern.