North Texas Now Home To Rescued Tiger & Bears
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(CBS 11 News) North Texas is now home to three exotic and potentially dangerous animals. Two black bears and a Bengal tiger were among more than a dozen animals seized Thursday morning during a raid at a south Texas ranch in Gonzales County.
Upon arrival the Bengal tiger seemed a bit upset and with good reason. He and more than a dozen other exotic dangerous animals have spent most of their lives together in very small enclosures.
“Poor bears can’t even stand up in their cages. But this is their lucky day,” said Patty Mercer, Houston SPCA.
The Houston SPCA came to the rescue.
For the Gonzales County officials it’s the end of an emotional seven year legal battle with the animal’s owner.
“The condition of the animals, the works that’s been done, all of this, it’s finally reached a head. This is the end of a period,” said Glen Sachtleben, Gonzales County Sheriff.
One of the major problems for the rescued animals was their tight living quarters.
For nine years the Bengal tiger lived in a cage that was 4 ½ x 8.
"They’re wild animals, they’re used to vast expanses of ground to be able to roam around. They’ve been living in a life of a piece of plywood, a 4×8 area, to where they can just stand up lay down and that’s it,” said Charles Jantzen, Houston SPCA.
The animals’ owner, David Richtman, has been convicted of possessing and failing to register dangerous wild animals. He faces stiff fines and time in jail.
Richtman has permanently lost his bears and tigers. The next step is to find the animals permanent homes.
"There’s no place for these animals to go. People acquire them as pets. There are not enough reputable sanctuary placements for them. Zoos don’t want them, I mean most people assume that zoos want to take these animals, but zoos are full and they don’t want these animals,” Mercer said.
There is hope for the Bengal tiger. The International Exotic Feline Sanctuary in Wise County has agreed to keep him there.
The executive director of The International Exotic Feline Sanctuary said, “He’s retired here right here. He’s not going anywhere. He’ll have a spacious habitat to live in for the rest of his life."
Two of the black bears will be held at the North Texas Humane Society in Fort Worth until permanent homes are found.
April 20, 2006
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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