Roane County tiger sanctuary is the center of debate among those who live nearby

Roane County tiger sanctuary is the center of debate among those who live nearby

Sean Dreher
Updated: 1/26/2010 8:45:35 PM
Posted: 1/26/2010 5:52:36 PM

A Roane County animal shelter dedicated to saving large cats is at the center of debate among those who live nearby.

Tiger Haven has rescued hundreds of cats since it opened in 1991. People who live near the facility applaud those efforts but are expressing concerns.

“Its a great cause to do something like that. But is it a great cause to do something like that at the expense of the safety and the environment in the area that they’re at?” Tim Barringer said.

Heath Richardson shares those thoughts.

“I have no problem with the woman having the tigers,” he said. “But in my opinion, she should have a 10,000 acre farm somewhere where there’s no houses. I mean, this is a community.”

Richardson can see the cats from his backyard, and he said the animal’s waste runs downhill into his well.

“The kids is what I’m more concerned about than anything, and these older people down here that can’t protect themselves,” he said.

Richardson and Barringer are among hundreds of people who have signed a petition. They’re hoping to see additional safety measures put in place.

“As of July, 21, 2009, the TWRA records indicate that Tiger Haven has undergone 56 inspections since 1999. At no time were there any conditions noted that constituted a threat to public safety,” Doug Drinnon, attorney for Tiger Haven said in a statement.

Also in 2009, several state agencies studied the water quality around Tiger Haven. There were no signs of animal waste. TWRA spokesperson Dan Hicks said everything checked out in their latest inspection of Tiger Haven.

Despite the inspection record, those who live nearby want to do everything they can to prevent problems down the road.

“We understand issues and safety concerns, environmental concerns. We’re going to address this before that happens,” Barringer said.

Barringer has purchased the domain name for a website he plans to launch in the coming days.

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