Proposed Stone Co. (MO) Tiger Sanctuary is Safe, Says Director

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Proposed Stone Co. (MO) Tiger Sanctuary is Safe, Says Director

Neighbors Say it Doesn’t Belong
By Doug Magditch
Story Created: Dec 22, 2009 at 5:12 PM CST
Story Updated: Dec 22, 2009 at 5:43 PM CST

(Galena, Mo.) — Some Stone County residents are concerned about a proposed tiger sanctuary in their backyards

Keith Kincade, the director of the National Tiger Sanctuary says they have nothing to worry about. It’s licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), meaning it has to follow the same safety precautions as a zoo.

Kincade says, despite the controversy, he plans to do what he can to bring his sanctuary to stone county.

Bringing with him nine tigers, including one you might recognize: Sheena. The Bengal tiger was rescued from a Seneca puppy mill in February.

“When we first got her, every time she breathed she would growl,” says Kincade.

Now, Sheena is healthy and living at the national tiger sanctuary in Bloomsdale, Mo., just outside of St. Louis.

That could soon change. The owner of a 40-acre piece of land, at Hwy 176 and KK, in Stone Co., has applied to be re-zoned. The hope is to allow the sanctuary to set up shop here.

“It’s right in my back door,” says neighbor Sammie Thompson.

As KSPR reported Monday, neighbors aren’t happy about.

“For me, they don’t belong here,” says Thompson. “There’s no place for them here.”

Kincade says safety would be a top priority.

“We have an 8-ft. high spectator fence and then we have another primary fence for the tigers that is 16-ft high and it has a hot wire at top of it also,” says Kincade.

Also, Kincade says the tigers wouldn’t be near the road, or any homes.

“that would be quite a ways away from them. 500, 600 feet, I’m guessing,” says Kincade.

The land would also include a classroom, restaurant, and housing for interns. The goal is to bring attention to environmental issues.

“The tigers are the draw that draws people to get the their attention, so we’ll be doing a lot of other programs besides just talking about tigers. We’ll talk about conserving energy and different, really anything that touches on the environment,” says Kincade.

It’s education, the director hopes, will help ease some of the neighbors’ concerns.

We said Monday Planning and Zoning will hold a public meeting in January. That will likely be pushed back to February 2nd, because of some changes in the rezoning application.

Kincade hopes to have the sanctuary open as early as summer, 2010.

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