Tiger faring better in new surroundings

Tiger faring better in new surroundings

By Derek Spellman
Published June 30, 2009

Every time students or visitors go to the National Tiger Sanctuary, they hear Sheena’s story before they see her.

Rescued from an alleged puppy mill in rural Seneca earlier this year, the malnourished female tiger initially struggled with the transition to new surroundings. She had trouble with her eyesight. She had trouble with her posture. Long confined indoors, she had trouble going outside.

“It frightened her, actually,” said Judy McGee, co-founder of the National Tiger Sanctuary, in Bloomsdale.

Today, Sheena’s posture is straightening out, her eyes are good, she has put on weight, and she ventures outside. For the first time ever, the 9-year-old tiger has been able to be near other tigers.

“Sheena is doing great,” McGee said.

As part of its policy, the sanctuary tells visitors the story of the tigers it has.

“Our tag line is preservation through education,” McGee said.

Sheena reportedly was kept in a 20- by 20-foot pen by her former owner, Margaret “Jewel” Bond, until Newton County authorities raided Bond’s home and business in February.

In addition to Sheena, authorities removed 208 dogs and one cat from Bond’s kennel and adjoining home.

Circuit Judge Tim Perigo in March awarded full custody of the dogs and cat to the Humane Society of Missouri after Bond, 66, was unable to post a bond for their care. Bond also forfeited custody of Sheena to the National Tiger Sanctuary.

Jeane Jae, communications director for the state society, said a total of 183 animals have been adopted. Five dogs, mostly Shar-Peis, are still available for adoption, she said.

The remaining animals removed from Bond’s property either died on their own from illness or had to be euthanized because of illness.

The society said about 5,000 people inquired about adopting the animals. Jae characterized the public response to the rescued animals, including the adoption rate, as “fantastic.”




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