By Wendy Gragg | Wednesday, February 11, 2009, 08:59 PM
A Bengal Tiger was being held at the Humane Society of North Texas today after authorities removed in from property in Hamilton County.
Hamilton County Sheriff Gregg Bewley said the tiger, removed Tuesday from a cage at 2842 County Road 203, is underweight and has hookworms, but is doing alright. The tiger made a sedated trip to the big cat room at the humane society in Fort Worth after sheriff’s deputies determined the tiger’s cage was not up to code.
“They said he was up and around, though a little grouchy,” Bewley said about the tiger, who weighs nearly 300 pounds.
Bewley said he began getting calls from the community about the tiger in early January. The animal was being kept in a 15 by 25 foot cage, which didn’t look like it would hold it, Bewley said. And the cage was surrounded by a perimeter fence which was not high enough to keep the cat from scaling it.
“My first concern was what were the conditions the tiger was being kept under, as far as the safety of the citizens of Hamilton County were concerned,” Bewley said.
The cat’s owner had not registered with the sheriff’s office as required by state health and safety codes, he said. The sheriff’s office has not been able to reach the owner, who is said to be out of the country.
Four charges have been filed against the owner, related to keeping the tiger and failing to report it. There will be a hearing Feb. 19 to determine the cat’s future.
Bewley, who took office in January said this isn’t the kind of thing he sees every day. “It’s a first for me, and hopefully a last,” he said.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org