Siberian tigers coming to DeSoto County

Siberian tigers coming to DeSoto County

Published on: Thursday, November 26, 2009

DESOTO COUNTY — Siberian Tigers will soon be at home in DeSoto County.

The County Commission Tuesday unanimously approved a development plan for cages and fencing in compliance with Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to house three Siberian Tigers and an African Serval (a small cat species native to Africa). The property is located at 5998 S.W. Smith Ave., approximately one mile south of County Road 760A.

Zelph Ridgeway, the agent for property owner Elita Bozeman, told the commission the animals were for personal use only and are pets. The development plan does not include accommodations for customers or visitors.

Ridgeway said he was familiar with all the requirements and what the zoning allows. “I have licenses for many animals,” he said. “I’ve had licenses in Charlotte County since 1994. I also currently hold a license for the Sarasota Jungle Gardens for all their animals. So this is not new to me. I’ve had animals my whole life. I’ve had animals over 30 years from chimpanzees to tigers. I’m really strong on the issue of licensing. That’s what makes it work.”

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