Actress’ tiger that mauled caretaker came from notorious Colton
10:00 PM PST on Wednesday, December 5, 2007
By SANDRA STOKLEY
The Press-Enterprise The tiger that mauled a caretaker this week at actress Tippi Hedren’s Shambala Preserve in Acton was one of the exotic cats relocated from Tiger Rescue, a notorious Colton sanctuary shut by state authorities in 2003.Hedren, who starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film “The Birds,” made the announcement Wednesday in an interview on KFI Radio. Harlan Boll, a Hedren spokesman, confirmed it.
Tiger Rescue operator John Weinhart was convicted in 2005 of multiple animal-cruelty counts after state Department of Fish and Game agents and local officials raided his Glen Avon compound in Riverside County in April 2003, and found the rotting and mummified remains of at least 30 exotic cats strewn about the property.
The Colton facility was shut after state officials found that the dozens of exotic felines housed there — most of them tigers — were being cared for improperly.
The big cats were relocated to sanctuaries around the United States.
The cat involved in this week’s incident was one of three juvenile tigers confiscated in late 2002, during the early stages of the investigation.
Hedren took in the three young tigers and named them after her grandchildren — Alexander, Stella and Dakota — the children of Hedren’s daughter, actress Melanie Griffith.
“There have been no problems with the cats since then,” Boll said.
Chris Orr, who has worked at Shambala for 9 ½ years, was mauled as he was cleaning Alexander’s compound about 2 p.m. Monday, Boll said.
Orr was grabbed by the back of the neck and dragged about 100 feet. Alexander dropped Orr when co-worker Jesus Torres yelled. Torres then dragged Orr to safety.
Orr remains in intensive care at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, where his condition has been upgraded from critical to stable.
Boll said Orr suffered severe scratches to his arm and leg but that no vital organs were damaged.
“He was really lucky,” Boll said.
Reach Sandra Stokley at 951-368-9647 or sstokley@PE.com