Canada: Vancouver Island man fights to keep pet tiger

Source: CBC News
Posted: 09/09/08 2:46PM
Filed Under: Canada

A Victoria-area resident says he’ll fight in court to keep his new pet tiger after the local municipal council passed a law banning exotic animals.

David Bennett, a resident of Highlands, announced in August that he intended to bring a two-year-old tiger to live in a special enclosure on his southern Vancouver Island property.

The local council responded by scrambling to pass a bylaw that bans exotic animals.

Bennett ignored the ban and brought the 150 kilogram tiger to the Highlands early in September.

The municipal council responded by holding a special in-camera meeting late Monday afternoon.

Highland Mayor Mark Cardinal said the council has decided to seek an injunction to move Suzy out of the Highlands.

Now Bennett plans to fight the injunction application in court.

Bennett said he adopted Suzy in August when her future was looking grim. For personal reasons her previous owner was no longer able to keep her.

The tiger was bred in captivity by people in the Vancouver film industry, but because she’s a Siberian-Bengal cross, she doesn’t qualify for most zoo programs.

With limited options, it came down to selling her for her coat and meat, or bringing her to the $15,000 pen Bennett built for her on his Millstream Road property, he said.

“Nobody seemed to want her unless they could take her apart and sell pieces of her,” said Bennett on Monday.

Now, he says, Suzy is just another member of the family. “When she sees my light go on at 6:30 in the morning to make coffee, she comes straight to the fence and starts calling for me,” said Bennett.

While Suzy’s fate will likely be decided by the courts, in the meantime Bennett said he is getting advice on caring for his young pet from experts at a Colorado sanctuary, who have inspected the enclosure and found it secure and large enough for the animal.

In May 2007 a pet Siberian tiger kept on a property near 100 Mile House killed a woman who was outside its enclosure petting it.


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