Apologetic tiger owner touts new cage
By Zeke MacCormack- Express-News
Web Posted: 01/28/2009 12:00 CST
KERRVILLE — The owner of a Bengal tiger whose brief escape last week scared Ingram-area neighbors offered apologetic assurances Monday that a new pen now being built would safely secure the 330-pound cat.
“I’m terribly sorry that she did get out. It was a great accident,” Anke Leitner, who raised Kimra from a cub, told Kerr County commissioners, who discussed possible changes to county rules on dangerous animals that are kept as pets.
Besides favoring more frequent inspections of cages, it was proposed that the county ban any new dangerous animals from moving in, while grandfathering existing pets.
“I’d like to revisit these in the very near future and make some changes,” Commissioner Bruce Oehler said.
He was thankful that no one was injured when Kimra escaped about 3 a.m. Jan. 18 before being shot with a tranquilizer dart an hour later.
Mildred Crenshaw, the 79-year-old woman in whose Beaver Street yard Kimra was caught, told commissioners, “I think it’s ridiculous to have an animal like that in a neighborhood that’s populated.”
Contrary to official accounts last week, Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer confirmed Crenshaw’s assertions Monday that Kimra’s old cage didn’t meet county specifications.
He said the barbed wire pitched inward atop the 10-foot fence wasn’t made of the same material as the vertical fence, as required by the rules adopted in 2001.
Animal Control Officer Jamie Roman, who inspected Leitner’s old pen, couldn’t be reached for comment after the meeting.
Leitner said the new pen has an enclosed roof, eliminating the chance of Kimra escaping again by scaling the fence.
“I already told her that if it gets out again I’m likely to have a tiger rug in my office,” Hierholzer told commissioners.
Asked later why she has a pet tiger, Leitner said, “I think it is the most fascinating animal on Earth.”
She said she can’t wait to reunite with the 15-year-old cat, which is being held at an undisclosed location.
“She’s very attached to me,” Leitner of Kimra, who walks on a leash in her pen and eats 10 pounds of deer or goat daily.
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