Tiger takes swipe at big-cat Tiger Haven preserve worker
KINGSTON – An employee of a big-cat refuge in Roane County was clawed on the back of one leg by a tiger this morning but didn’t require medical attention.
The Tiger Haven employee’s name wasn’t released, said Howie Rose, the county’s director of emergency services.
He said Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials were notified of the incident, reported to county emergency response personnel at 10 a.m. TWRA conducts routine inspections of Tiger Haven to make sure the state’s animal sanctuary guidelines are followed.
The nonprofit refuge, which houses more than 250 lions, tigers and other big cats, is located on 50 acres in rural eastern Roane County.
Dandridge attorney Doug Drinnon is the designated spokesman for Tiger Haven. He wasn’t available for comment today.
More details as they develop online and in Saturday’s News Sentinel.
Drunk and nude, but not wild: Pair recount their ‘stupid’ escapade at Tiger Haven
- By Bob Fowler
- Knoxville News Sentinel
Posted October 12, 2010 at 11:23 p.m
Yes, they were nude and drinking beer on their porch while listening to Bob Dylan, say two men charged with incidents at a Roane County sanctuary for lions and tigers.
But no, they didn’t run naked through Tiger Haven, Jake Loftis and Samuel Adams say.
Loftis, 22, of Blaine, and Adams, 26, of Knoxville are charged with indecent exposure and vandalism in connection with a Sept. 16 episode at the big-cat sanctuary located on 50 acres in a rural, eastern part of the county.
The warrants allege the men, who lived on the property and worked as cat keepers, “ran nude around the complex exposing themselves to co-workers.”
Stunned by extensive news coverage of the incident, the two men this week said they wanted to set the record straight.
“It was kind of a protest, really,” Loftis said of their decision to get naked. He said it was their way to express anger at being fired.
“I know it was a stupid mistake; something I’ll never do again,” he said.
“I got drunk, and I got stupid, to be honest,” Adams said.
The men said they were unjustly fired. Some men they caught stealing from their trailer while putting in an air conditioner framed them, they said.
“They stole $180 from us,” Loftis said. “We called them out on it, and they got all huffy and puffy about it and said something to the owner about us having narcotics and paraphernalia all over the place.”
The men deny having any drugs or drug paraphernalia on the premises.
They said they were fired a week later. They said they were told it was because of a lack of work for them. “We know that’s not true,” Loftis said. “They kind of fired us for a false reason.”
Dandridge attorney Doug Drinnon, spokesman for Tiger Haven, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
The workers’ response to being fired and evicted was to quaff some brew and shed their clothes, they said.
“I started the naked thing,” Loftis said.
“I was just so angry,” he said. “I guess it was just my way of expressing my anger.”
Adams on Monday admitted he ripped a railing off the porch of the trailer where they lived at Tiger Haven, sparking the vandalism charge. “I was angry and stupid,” he said.
Loftis said only one co-worker – installing cameras on-site in response to a recent poisoning of two cougars – saw them.
Loftis said Adams soon posted bond and was released, but he was jailed for 22 days. Loftis said a sergeant at the Roane County jail told him last Friday he could have been released earlier on his own recognizance.
Both men said they plan to plead guilty in Roane County Sessions Court Nov. 1.
Loftis said he would plead to vandalism “by association.”
“He (Adams) told me to stop him if he did anything stupid,” Loftis said.
Bob Fowler, News Sentinel Anderson County editor, may be reached at 865-481-3625.
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