Thanks for the excellent article on the tiger situation. You did the best you could with everyone being so cagey about the answers.
The owner’s statement that there were just as many people who love the cat as want it gone, may be true because the tiger made the top of an International poll for most beloved animal (beating out both the dog and cat), but those who love tigers don’t want to see them in cages. The following poll shows that 76% of the public would support a ban on all exotic cats as pets:
Would you support a ban on exotic cats as pets?
Public opinion isn’t the only reason why these back yard menageries should be outlawed:
The following is a partial listing (804) of incidents involving captive big cats since 1990. These incidents have resulted in the killing or deaths of 235 big cats, 72 human deaths, more than 250 human maulings, 214 exotic cat escapes and 364 confiscations. http://bigcatrescue.org/big_cat_news.htm
To see a video of the mauling of a zoo keeper in 2006 go to http://bigcatrescue.org/animal_contact.htm
The Journal of Internal Medicine in 2006 estimated that 50 million people worldwide have been infected with zoonotic diseases since 2000 and as many as 78,000 have died. Read more about zoonotic diseases here:
To see the number of exotic cats abandoned each year go to http://bigcatrescue.org/animal_abuse.htm
To view a trend chart that shows the alarming escalation of big cat incidents here: http://bigcatrescue.org/Flash/BigCatBans/BigCatBanCharts.htm
This video shows facilities that are currently licensed and approved by the USDA and the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission that have been operating at this level or worse for more than 10 years and yet are still open to the public. These images are typical of those who allow cameras in but there are many worse ones who do not. This shows precisely why we need to ban private possession of exotic cats. http://www.veoh.com/videos/v2570412PGPYhmr
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
Sign our petition here:
Get 7 Free Lessons from the Teachers of "The Secret" here: http://bigcatrescue.org/TheSecret.htm
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BY MARK TAYTI
Local News – Thursday, May 31, 2007 Updated @ 6:04:59 PM
Mayor Vance Badawey said the city is dealing with the tiger issue in Gasline.
“Although I can’t go into detail, we have been engaged in the process of dealing with this situation for the past two months,” the mayor said.
Badawey said the process now underway does not permit him to disclose all the steps the city is currently taking to resolve neighbourhood concerns.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “The perception is that we are doing nothing. That is not the case, but the law is the law.”
Badawey said he has driven by the property, but he declined an invitation this week by property owner Bob Fyfe to inspect the property.
“There are ways we have to deal with this. I don’t blame the residents for being concerned – I’m concerned. Believe me, our actions will speak louder than words.”
Residents living near the Highway 3 property have expressed their concerns about living so close to a caged tiger. They have also called on the city to take action.
Coun. Bea Kenny raised the issue in council chambers this week, at which time, acting chief administrative officer Peter Senese said the exotic animal bylaw is being reviewed.
Sense said this week that under the bylaw, large cats are prohibited but there is a registration process.
He would not elaborate on the action that is now being taken.
“Because there is a bylaw, we now have an open file. There may or may not be legal implications,” Senese added.
When asked when the ongoing investigation might be concluded, Senese said “it is hard to say.”
The exotic pet bylaw was written in 2001. He said the rationale behind the bylaw was that banning exotic animals would be worse, from a safety standpoint, than regulating them.
Senese said the city is currently working with the
Rob Laidlaw, of Zoocheck Canada Inc., said exotic animal bylaws that fall short of a complete ban are “absurd.”
“There has been a longtime problem in
He said the residents of Gasline have every right to be fearful of having a tiger in the neighbourhood.
“It’s a very stupid practice and lot’s of people find themselves in all kinds of difficulties.”
He said the biggest problem with keeping big cats is “they can kill you.”
Laidlaw said municipalities have tremendous authority to act and there is no reason for taking a regulatory approach.
“If you ban exotic animals, most people will abide by the bylaw,” he said. “Regulating (exotic animals) is not fair to others in the community.”
In his 20 years of dealing with owners of exotic animals, Laidlaw admits most owners are either seeking attention or “it’s testosterone induced.”
He said a proper cage for a tiger should be 16 feet high, buried into the ground, have a double-door system and perimeter fencing. There should be a kill rifle on the property and proper procedures in place if the animal should escape.
He said that exotic animal owners almost always share the opinion that their animals are harmless and view them as domestic.
“A killing bite process is hard-wired into large cats,” he said. “These animals are just a few generations removed from the wild. No one knows what will trigger an attack.”
Fyfe said if it were up to Zoocheck, nobody in
“They are the ones who put all the phobias out there,” he said. “I am in compliance with the city bylaw. I’m grandfathered into it. I am talking to the city and I want to work with them so that nobody looks like the bad guy.”
The 150-pound year-old Siberian Tiger has recently been moved to a new cage and Fyfe admits he is “in transition.”
He said the tiger will eventually reach 400 pounds.
Fyfe said safety is his biggest concern.
“I’ve got kids here all the time,” he said. “I’m willing to work with everybody to make everybody happy.”
Fyfe said there are a lot of rumours in the community about his rottweiler running loose and an alligator in his yard. He said people have even mistaken his mastiff for a bear. He said none of his animals run loose and the alligator was a plastic toy of his child’s.
“The tiger has gotten bigger so I moved it to a new cage,” he said. “As the tiger grows, the cage is going to grow.”
He said the cage system he has set up for the tiger is fail safe.
“I have just as much concern for the animal getting out,” he added. “The ones usually in the most danger are the owners.”
Fyfe also has a cougar, an alligator, several varieties of python and other exotic pets on his property. He is in the process of registering them all with the city.
He said any cage he builds exceeds the standards required by city bylaw.
“I am perfectly within my rights to own these animals,” he said.
He said for every person who is complaining about the tiger, there is someone else who loves it.
Brian Heaslip, who lives next to the property where the tiger is housed, is frustrated by the fact the city has taken so much time to deal with his complaint.
“Ultimately, our issue is with the city. Either the bylaw is not being enforced or it is so inadequate that it needs to be changed. Tigers don’t belong in urban areas or in hamlets. It’s frustrating to sit for a year and not see any headway.”
Heaslip said there have been a series of incidents that make him nervous about living next door to a caged tiger.
“Steps need to be taken to keep this issue on the front burner so the city deals with it, “ Heaslip said. “All we have gotten is vague statements about something being done but nothing gets done.”
Bob Bodner said the tiger is a big issue with people who live in Gasline.
“It’s kind of dangerous. If the tiger got out, what would you do? How would you defend yourself? I’m worried it could get out … very worried.”
Bodner is also unsure what other exotic animals Fyfe might be keeping at his property.
“I don’t think the city knows. Do they?”
Bodner also has concerns with the city bylaw and wonders if Fyfe is even allowed to have a tiger.
“If he is allowed to have it, then our battle is with the city.”
Bodner said bylaws are “complaint driven” and he doesn’t believe that simply removing the tiger from Fyfe’s property will solve the problem.
“Once you get rid of the tiger, what else does he have? firstname.lastname@example.org