Ontario: Tiger reignites exotic animal debate
By KAESHA FORAND
Local News – Friday, May 18, 2007 Updated @ 11:40:44 AM
A debate about keeping exotic animals in Port Colborne has been reignited by the presence of a tiger in Gasline.
Residents have been voicing their concerns about a tiger in Bob Fyfe’s back yard.
“We have an exotic animal bylaw and at this point we’re still in the investigation process,” said Peter Senese, director of corporate services for the city of Port Colborne. “The bylaw does allow it under certain circumstances and we’re currently investigating those circumstances.”
The tiger has concerned Bob Bodner who regularly walks by Fyfe’s home on Highway 3 to get to work.
Bodner said in previous years Fyfe’s rottweiler has chased him and members of their family and he always walks on the opposite side of the highway to avoid the dog.
“What fears us is the past,” he said. “We know his past, we see what goes on with the animals and we don’t particularly trust the issue. It’s not a matter of what animal gets out, it’s a matter of when.”
Fyfe said his animals are all registered and he has had exotic animals such as tigers, monkeys, alligators, snakes and reptiles throughout his life. He owned Predator’s Reptile World in Niagara Falls for four years and at one point his collection was worth $2.5 million.
He said he built his tiger enclosure so people can’t get through the two locked doors. He said it is made of a heavy duty materials and the roof is made of 2×4 and 2×6 fastened planks. Fyfe is also in the process of building the tiger a 100-foot-long steel cage.
“I have seven kids and the animals don’t threaten them,” Fyfe said. “They are all in safe enclosures.”
Fyfe also has a rottweiler and a bull mastiff dog which he said people have mistaken for a bear or a large cat in the past.
“I’ve had these animals for 26 years, I’m not concerned about my pens and my animals getting out than people going close to the cage,” Fyfe said.
Ted Bettle, manager of the Welland and District Humane Society, has discussed the issue with the City of Port Colborne and said they hope to come to a resolution that makes all parties happy.
“The city is certainly not overlooking this,” Bettle said. “There is only so much we can do.”