Scott man faces charges for keeping a lion cub
BY REX BOWMAN
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Mar 4, 2006
A Scott County man was charged with two misdemeanors yesterday, days after authorities discovered an African lion living on his farm.
The lion is 7 months old and is still considered a cub, but it weighs about 100 pounds and "is big enough to put a hurtin’ on somebody," said Julia Dixon, spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. "It’s not a kitten."
Marc Bradley, of the Snowflake community, was charged with importing and possessing an undesirable and predatory animal, and with importing and possessing an African lion without a veterinarian’s certificate of inspection. Both charges are misdemeanors punishable by fines.
Bradley, a chiropractor, could not be reached for comment yesterday. His attorney was out of town, according to the attorney’s secretary.
State game officials, Scott deputies and an animal-control officer went to Bradley’s farm this week after a neighbor called to raise questions about whether the lion was being properly cared for. While game officials have given no indication that the animal was improperly treated, they concluded Bradley had not obtained permission to bring the lion cub into Virginia.
"We’re under the impression he’s had it for a while," Dixon said, "but we don’t know where he got it."
In Virginia, it is generally forbidden to own wildlife except for research or exhibition and education. Bradley also owns other exotic animals, such as camels, which are considered domesticated, Dixon said.
Yesterday, a crew from Tiger Haven in Kingston, Tenn., removed the lion cub from Bradley’s farm and took it to their facility. Tiger Haven is a 40-acre sanctuary for big cats, including tigers, lions, leopards and jaguars.
Contact staff writer Rex Bowman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 344-3612.
Simba taken to sanctuary for big cats in Tennessee
Saturday, March 04, 2006
By KEVIN CASTLE
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Dr. Marc Bradley holds Simba in a containment cage on Friday. Erica Yoon photo.
SNOWFLAKE – The saga of Simba now stretches over into the Volunteer State.
As his owner Dr. Marc Bradley looked on and gave his 7½-month-old lion cub comforting pats as he paced in a containment cage, Simba was inspected by state game officials Friday.
"It’ll be OK, buddy," said Bradley as the cub playfully bumped up against him before employees with Tiger Haven, a sanctuary and rescue facility created especially for lions, tigers and other related species, loaded him into a truck by order of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF).
After department veterinarian Dr. Jonathan Sleeman asked Bradley questions about the lion’s health and other related data, he issued a shipping certificate which gave the sanctuary group permission to take the cub across the state line into Tennessee.
Bradley was then issued two misdemeanor warrants by a Virginia game warden, charging him with one count each of importation and possession of an undesirable and predatory animal, and importation and possession of an African lion without a proper veterinarian’s certificate of inspection.
This was the second trip to the Snowflake farm by game officials this week.
The first was on Monday to execute a search warrant obtained by state and federal game officials to inspect the premises after someone in the community voiced concern over the animal’s welfare to a local animal warden.
VDGIF officials concluded afterward that Bradley was in violation of a state law that prohibits possession of a predatory or undesirable animal that the state keeps a list of.
Other exotic animals that Bradley keeps on the property, including six camels, were deemed acceptable because of their inclusion on the state’s domesticated animal list.
Bradley contends that prior conversations with state wildlife agents indicated that he did not need permits to keep the animal on his private estate since the lion would not be on public display, a claim that VDGIF spokeswoman Julia Dixon denied on Friday.
"Contrary to published reports that the lion was being held in a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved and inspected facility and that the authorization for ownership had been given by VDGIF, Mr. Bradley had no permits from either the USDA or VDGIF," Dixon said.
Simba is now bound for a temporary home that he must share with 238 other big cats, although Tiger Haven’s Mary Lynn Roberts, who is president of the nonprofit organization, said Friday that he will be kept in a separate 40-foot-by-60-foot cage away from the other animals until the legal ramifications behind this case play out.
"Our group takes in lions, tigers, panthers and other big cats that have been former pets, used by breeders, and have even performed in the circus. We take them in year round," she explained.
The facility is a "no kill" sanctuary, which means the animal can live out the rest of its life in the safety of the refuge.
"I think that (Dr. Bradley) should have his mind at ease because we have some of the best specialized vets from the University of Tennessee come to our place on a regular basis to examine and give care to all of our animals,” she added.
Because the issue is still pending legally, Bradley did not want to comment on the case Friday.
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
Sign our petition here:
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