Fur flies in B.C. over back yard Siberian tiger
Updated Tue. Sep. 9 2008 9:24 PM ET
Darcy Wintonyk, ctvbc.ca
The mayor of a small British Columbia municipality says he’s ready to take the tiger by the tail to oust a large cat from his town.
Mayor Mark Cardinal says the community of Highlands, near Victoria, is ready to take legal action to remove a Siberian-Bengal tiger from a private residence.
Two-year-old Suzie was recently purchased by local resident Dave Bennett, who keeps the cat in a 1,800-square foot cage in his backyard.
Highlands city council plans on petitioning the courts to seek an injunction to have Suzie relocated, saying the 150-kilogram cat is a safety concern to area residents.
“It’s in the better interest for the tiger and the best interest of the community if its taken away,” says Cardinal.
“It’s just human decency. The tiger was born and raised in captivity, and would be much more comfortable in other surroundings.”
City councillors have voted unanimously to move the cat to a wildlife sanctuary in Colorado.
The mayor says he’s spoken with Bennett, and hopes he will co-operate with the municipality’s decision.
Bennett’s decision to take the tiger from a nearby animal sanctuary earlier this summer was met with frenzy from the Highlands council. With no formal rules against bringing the tiger in, the councillors quickly passed a new bylaw on Aug. 25 to ban exotic animals in a home.
The tiger’s original owner near Lake Cowichan, B.C., raised her from a pup in her private zoo until she could be sent to another facility.
But zoos aren’t willing to take Suzie because her genetics make her unsuitable for captive breeding.
Bennett says he volunteered to adopt the cat because the only other potential buyers wanted to have the animal killed for its skin and body parts.
A Colorado-area wildlife sanctuary that specializes in abandoned animals has volunteered to take the tiger, but estimates the cost of relocation will be around $3,000.