Tiger staying put for now
By Charla Huber – Goldstream News Gazette
Published: June 15, 2009 5:00 PM
Updated: June 15, 2009 5:57 PM
Suzy the tiger’s owner hasn’t found a new home for the big cat, delaying her departure for the time being.
“It’s not an easy thing to find a place for a tiger,” Dave Bennett said Monday, one day before the June 16 deadline.
Highlands and Bennett agreed to a consent order to remove the tiger from the district in mid-June. The binding legal agreement is in place, but Bennett said he won’t be able to comply.
After the consent order had been signed, provincial regulations changed to restrict owning and transporting exotic animals.
As of Nov. 1, 2009 owners of exotic animals must apply for permits to keep or transport their animal.
“No one is going to spend the money to build Suzy a pen if they don’t have it in writing they can keep her,” Bennett said.
What Highlands will do next remains unclear. Mayor Jane Mendum said as of Wednesday, non compliance will become a court matter. District administrator Chris Coates said council will discuss its options in a closed meeting.
“We’ve been working in support of Mr. Bennett since September. Council has worked hard to protect the well-being of Suzy and I don’t anticipate that is going to change in the future,” Mendum said.
The District has received 121 letters in total from the public both in favour and opposing the three-year-old, Bengal-Siberian mix living in Highlands.
“I appreciate the people’s input and appreciate their sentiment,” Mendum said. “Suzy has become even larger than a tiger’s life.”