MOUND VALLEY, Kan. – The Lost Creek Animal Sanctuary, where a tiger killed a 17-year-old taking her senior pictures here last year, has had its license revoked and has been put on probation until October 2011.
During that time, operators Doug and Keith Billingsly cannot engage in any activity for which a license under the Animal Welfare Act is required, the ruling from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service stated.
Haley Hilderbrand was killed Aug. 18, 2005, when she was attacked by a 550-pound male tiger while having her senior pictures taken at the southeast Kansas animal sanctuary.
In its 10-page decision issued Nov. 3, the Agriculture Department cited several violations of the Animal Welfare Act at Lost Creek, including allowing the public to have direct contact and pose for photographs with adult tigers. It also did not establish and maintain a program of adequate veterinary care to prevent and control injuries, the ruling stated.
The ruling says there were not adequate methods of tranquilization available at the facility. Doug Billingsly’s nephew and authorities had to shoot and kill Shakka after the animal attacked Hilderbrand.
The ruling also alleges that the Billingslys did not allow officials with the Agriculture Department’s animal inspection service to inspect the operation on four separate occasions from September 2004 to January 2005, months before the Siberian tiger attacked and killed Hilderbrand.
Under the terms of the probation, the Billingslys can be fined $12,600 each if they violate the Animal Welfare Act again. They also were ordered to get rid of all animals subject to the act.
Ronda Good, Hilderbrand’s mother, told the Parsons Sun she was pleased with the ruling but not surprised.
Neither Keith Billingsly nor Agriculture Department officials returned calls Wednesday to The Associated Press for comment.
In April, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed a law requiring owners of exotic animals to keep them confined so they can’t come in contact with the public.