Proposed Tiger Sanctuary Draws Fear For Stone County, MO Residents

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Proposed Tiger Sanctuary Draws Fear For Stone County, MO Residents

By KSPR News

Story Created: Dec 21, 2009 at 6:09 PM CST
Story Updated: Dec 21, 2009 at 6:32 PM CST

“We do our walking up and down this little area right here. So, it would be right next door to the tiger cages.”

Neighbors Sammie Thompson and Andrea Kemp say when they got word of a proposed tiger sanctuary Thursday, their hearts sank.

“I have a small grandson that’s almost two. He lives to play outside in the summer. We have to make him come in when it’s dark. He should get to do that. We live in Stone County for a reason, and that’s the reason,” said Thompson.

But anyone has the right to file a zoning proposal to the county.

The site for the tiger sanctuary would be placed at 4842 state Highway 176 Highway KK.

In the proposal for rezoning, the organization says the new facility would bring 15 to 20 new jobs to Stone County, internships for both national and international students, as well as tourism dollars as a bonus.

But Thompson says that’s all just a way to get the county to approve the re-zoning, leaving residents with the aftermath.

“They are not going to tell you anything bad. They are going to try to sell it the best they can. Once they get in, they’ll probably do what they want to do,” said Thompson.

The Stone County Sheriff’s Office is already familiar with exotic animals.

Just recently, it was involved in a raid of Predator World in Branson West.

The sheriff’s office says it’s working to make sure all exotic animals are registered in case of disaster or their escape.

“A wild animal is a wild animal. It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been caged, in my opinion. It’s just something we are really concerned about,” said Chief Deputy Rich Anderson.

The sheriff’s office says while it does not know much detail about the proposed tiger sanctuary, it would treat it like any other facility in the county.

“We just like to be informed. We just like to know what’s going on, so we can best address any potential problems, and be prepared for anything that comes up,” said Anderson.

Neighbors living near the proposed site say they hope they never have to worry about it at all.

We talked with the owner of the proposed tiger sanctuary on the phone later this afternoon.

He said the facility is registered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and would primarily only hold tigers.

The planning and zoning meeting for the proposed site is 7:30 PM, January 5th in the Stone County Annex.

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