County Declaws Couple’s Plan To House Tigers
Published: Dec 13, 2006
That’s pretty much the reaction neighbors had to a proposal before the planning and zoning commission Monday that would have allowed a big cat preserve on
The commission shot down the idea with a 4-1 vote, citing safety concerns about a facility it said isn’t compatible with the area.
The plan called for five wire enclosures, with at least one tiger or other large cat in each.
The cats have been raised in captivity and hand-fed, Jones said. They have been taken to schools and other functions to "educate the general public on the extinction of the big cats."
Several neighbors said they would be forced to live in fear, terrified of what would happen to their children, horses or cattle if one of the animals escaped.
"There will be many nightmares and sleepless nights if this petition is approved," said Bob Musselwhite, whose property is adjacent to the parcel.
Joe Piermatteo mentioned a recent incident at
"I don’t want anyone taking chances with my kids’ lives," said Richard Olsen, who lives next door to the property.
She said all injuries from big cats are to owners, handlers or other people inside the cats’ domain.
"That doesn’t mean yours won’t," planning Commissioner Anna Liisa Covell retorted.
"There’s always a possibility one of these animals will escape," planning Commissioner Anthony Palmieri said.
"Yes, I will,"
But it wasn’t enough. Neighbors were too close, commissioners said.
Two people spoke in favor of the proposal, including one unidentified woman who said it would be "perfect" to have a cat preserve at the location. Hernando County Commissioner Mary Preston was the lone supporter.