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Tiger Haven Sued for 10 Million by Neighbors

Tiger Haven Sued for 10 Million by Neighbors

Captive Tiger Not Tiger Haven

Captive Tiger Not Tiger Haven

Roaring lions and tigers and their waste runoff from a big-cat sanctuary have created a nuisance that has “destroyed the quiet enjoyment” on nine Roane County residents’ properties, a $10 million lawsuit filed Thursday alleges.

The Roane County Circuit Court complaint is the latest effort in a series of maneuvers by Roane County officials and residents targeting Tiger Haven. The sanctuary sits on nearly 50 acres of rolling hillside east of Kingston. It’s a home for big cats considered abused, abandoned or neglected.

In recent years, efforts to tighten oversight of the sanctuary have been launched, residents have taken their gripes to the media and complaints have been voiced on several occasions to Roane County’s commissioners.

The lawsuit seeks to permanently shut the sanctuary down or at least prevent the operators from acquiring any additional big cats.

Also sought: $5 million in compensatory damages for nuisances.

The lawsuit those annoyances range from “caterwauling” big cats — their roars heard “for several miles” — to adverse effects on domestic and farm animals, problems sleeping and worries about the big cats escaping.

Another $5 million in compensatory damages is sought for contamination of the plaintiffs’ properties through runoff of “feces, urine, and other contaminates.”

The lawsuit states that defendant Mary Lynn Haven, also known as Mary Lynn Parker, organized and incorporated the nonprofit in 1993 after receiving a state permit to house one pet tiger there two years earlier.

Since then, the big-cat population has grown dramatically, and now there are more than 250 “tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, jaguars, and all large cats and mixed breeds” on site, according to the legal action.

As a result, there has been an “ongoing increase in noise level, odor, waste and water runoff … all of which threaten the life and property of the plaintiffs and the environment as a whole,” it continues.

The lawsuit contends the defendants have utilized the sanctuary property so it has become an “unreasonable use” that has resulted in “a direct, repeated, constant … annoyance.”

Doug Drinnon, an attorney in Dandridge, serves as spokesman for Tiger Haven. Drinnon on Thursday hadn’t seen the lawsuit and declined comment.

James B. “Buddy” Scott, a retired Anderson County Circuit Court judge, filed the complaint on behalf of residents of an area around Harvey and Dogwood Valley roads.

Bob Fowler, News Sentinel Anderson County editor, may be reached at 865-481-3625.

Tiger Haven is not accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries


  1. How petty is this lawsuit! They too are created by the hands of God and it is our duty to protect and promote their well being!

  2. Instead of complaining about the roaring, etc., these people should be grateful that there are people who care enough about these horribly abused animals to be doing something about it. I would consider it a priviledge to be able to hear these amazing animals in my own backyard. The complainers need to be doing something to promote kindness in the world. They need to volunteer for Tiger Haven and see for themselves what horrors these animals have suffered at the hands of human beings.

  3. What a-holes people can be. Do they realize what these animals have been through? Chemical burns. Crushed bones from repeated beatings. Used as toys, then discarded when they became what they were born to be…large wild animals. Used as trophies for 'hunters' on hunting ranches, after being de-clawed, beaten into submission, then turned loose with no where to hide for people like Cheney (he loved this stuff) to 'hunt' and kill. Any big cat that makes it to this woman's shelter deserves love, peace, and food.

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