Neighbors are concerned about a 300-pound tiger. Addie Bradshaw reports.
(Orangeburg Co.) – A large, pet tiger in Orangeburg County is raising concerns over exotic animals and their treatment.
Currently, it’s not illegal for Orangeburg County residents to own tigers, but the county’s animal control officers say they’re pushing for increased regulations after a woman on Highway 178 decided to keep a tiger in her front yard.
Orangeburg County officials aren’t the only ones concerned. Lexington County resident Michael White came across the tiger two weeks ago while working in the area and says he’s been worried about it ever since.
"There’s animal bones littering…waste littering the area. It’s just unsanitary. Flies everywhere. It smells nasty," White said.
News19 took White’s concerns to Riverbanks Zoo curator John Davis. He says the animal, itself, looks healthy but believes the living conditions are cause for concern.
"Space is important. That’s substantially less than we would provide," Davis said while reviewing video of the conditions. "Rancid meat that would attract other pests and insects are something we in the zoo profession stay clear of."
While Orangeburg County Animal Control officers say it’s not ideal, there’s little they can do since cruelty laws only protect domesticated pets.
"All we can do is speak with the property owner and advise him people are concerned about it," Earl Whalen said.
Whalen says the residents are being cooperative but that his office is still concerned about the neighborhood’s safety.
"Anything could be potential for the escape of the cat if the property owner is not keeping 24 hour surveillance on it," Whalen said.
As Orangeburg County deals with these concerns, animal control officers are pushing for increased zoning regulations regarding the care of exotic animals.
There is also currently a bill in the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources that would limit who could own an exotic animal and what caging and care requirements they would have to follow.
Addie Bradshaw, Reporter
Updated: 5/2/2006 7:24:11 AM
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