Tiger Haven Sued for 10 Million by Neighbors

Tiger Haven Sued for 10 Million by Neighbors

Captive Tiger Not Tiger Haven
Captive Tiger Not Tiger Haven

Roaring lions and tigers and their waste runoff from a big-cat sanctuary have created a nuisance that has “destroyed the quiet enjoyment” on nine Roane County residents’ properties, a $10 million lawsuit filed Thursday alleges.

The Roane County Circuit Court complaint is the latest effort in a series of maneuvers by Roane County officials and residents targeting Tiger Haven. The sanctuary sits on nearly 50 acres of rolling hillside east of Kingston. It’s a home for big cats considered abused, abandoned or neglected.

In recent years, efforts to tighten oversight of the sanctuary have been launched, residents have taken their gripes to the media and complaints have been voiced on several occasions to Roane County’s commissioners.

The lawsuit seeks to permanently shut the sanctuary down or at least prevent the operators from acquiring any additional big cats.

Also sought: $5 million in compensatory damages for nuisances.

The lawsuit those annoyances range from “caterwauling” big cats — their roars heard “for several miles” — to adverse effects on domestic and farm animals, problems sleeping and worries about the big cats escaping.

Another $5 million in compensatory damages is sought for contamination of the plaintiffs’ properties through runoff of “feces, urine, and other contaminates.”

The lawsuit states that defendant Mary Lynn Haven, also known as Mary Lynn Parker, organized and incorporated the nonprofit in 1993 after receiving a state permit to house one pet tiger there two years earlier.

Since then, the big-cat population has grown dramatically, and now there are more than 250 “tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, jaguars, and all large cats and mixed breeds” on site, according to the legal action.

As a result, there has been an “ongoing increase in noise level, odor, waste and water runoff … all of which threaten the life and property of the plaintiffs and the environment as a whole,” it continues.

The lawsuit contends the defendants have utilized the sanctuary property so it has become an “unreasonable use” that has resulted in “a direct, repeated, constant … annoyance.”

Doug Drinnon, an attorney in Dandridge, serves as spokesman for Tiger Haven. Drinnon on Thursday hadn’t seen the lawsuit and declined comment.

James B. “Buddy” Scott, a retired Anderson County Circuit Court judge, filed the complaint on behalf of residents of an area around Harvey and Dogwood Valley roads.

Bob Fowler, News Sentinel Anderson County editor, may be reached at 865-481-3625.


Tiger Haven is not accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

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  • Show Comments (8)

  • Sharon George

    What a-holes people can be. Do they realize what these animals have been through? Chemical burns. Crushed bones from repeated beatings. Used as toys, then discarded when they became what they were born to be…large wild animals. Used as trophies for 'hunters' on hunting ranches, after being de-clawed, beaten into submission, then turned loose with no where to hide for people like Cheney (he loved this stuff) to 'hunt' and kill. Any big cat that makes it to this woman's shelter deserves love, peace, and food.

    • Phyllis Irene Harwell High

      Like the rescues, not the horror stories, …

  • Karen Taylor Lambie

    Instead of complaining about the roaring, etc., these people should be grateful that there are people who care enough about these horribly abused animals to be doing something about it. I would consider it a priviledge to be able to hear these amazing animals in my own backyard. The complainers need to be doing something to promote kindness in the world. They need to volunteer for Tiger Haven and see for themselves what horrors these animals have suffered at the hands of human beings.

  • Megan Jones Rice

    How petty is this lawsuit! They too are created by the hands of God and it is our duty to protect and promote their well being!

  • Steven Brummette

    Everybody is looking for a payoff anymore when the economy goes south

  • Elaine Elledge

    From one tiger to over 250 different animals. Let's not "kill" the people who live in the surrounding area, who have homes and animals themselves, who would like the property value to not go south… when the noise pollution becomes a no holds bared bellowing match at all hours. Too many animals is too many. They have a point but more importantly is the health of the animals. Are the animals just being moved to a less toxic environment because it's called a Haven. How many animals per spacer is too much, and are there more then enough caretakers to handle the problem. All of these questions need to be addressed. Caretakers of the abused animal population do them little or no service if they can't say no to additional animals when their space becomes over crowded. There is a community….the neighbors didn't have a problem at one level of population but now it's at the suing level and That is not really helping the animals. BTW, A Very large hug to owner who is trying to diminish the problems of these animals. Who can help instead of suing for the answers….will all the money help what has already been done or is it just to appease a few people who have little to offer in the way of real help. The problems we have in this life are problems we all have because we share in the fate of our "shared" world. Maybe a neighbor could start a fund for removing the extra animals to another shelter….I find when people and animals collide the animals are usually on the downside….so much for the fair legal system….Just thoughts…..

  • Vangie Tarver

    Keep in mind this is the same area where they hung an elephant. The poor animal had a severely infected tooth in the precise spot where the trainer prodded her, resulting in her going into a rage (from pain). It took two tries to hang her, all the while she was suffering from gunshots and a broken hip after the first try.
    Have ANY of these folks volunteered to help? Have they volunteered to do ANYTHING? important questions. And suing for an amount they KNOW will result if won (do not see a fair trial if it goes that far) destroying the sanctuary, the animals (where will they go?) and the owner – very petty indeed.

  • Miriam Cannavale

    Neighbors should move, animals were on earth first and have rights to a place to exist.


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