Posted: March 7, 2008 08:38 PM EST
Updated: March 7, 2008 08:38 PM EST
Tonight for the first time we’ll hear from the man who is appealing the state, so he can bring Siberian tigers to Eastern Idaho.
At this point, he hasn’t told us exactly where his operation is trying to set up, but we do know it’s between Idaho Falls and Blackfoot.
Renzo is fighting several conditions the department of agriculture wants him to follow including spaying or neutering all of his animals, a veterinary inspection, and an import permit.
Tonight we’ll take you inside Renzo’s Nevada feline operation and tiger show.
This is the first time you’ll hear him defend himself in his own words.
In the video Peter Renzo sent only to Local News 8 while he explains the construction of his steel cages, his voice almost becomes lost in the midst of his tiger’s growls.
“My name is Peter Renzo, but my friends call me Tiger Pete,” Renzo said.
And right now Tiger Pete doesn’t have many friends at the Idaho Department of Agriculture, who are barring him from setting up in Idaho.
He claims there is no law requiring him to spay or neuter his animals.
“It’s a law that doesn’t exist. This is a law of castration. A law that didn’t get approved by the legislature. It is not part of the Idaho administrative code,” Renzo added.
However, Idaho code does state the department of agriculture can regulate Renzo’s big cats and could ban them from the state if it’s necessary to protect the public aside from fixing his cats; there are other concerns with Renzo’s operation.
“After an animal is caged for so long they can be a good animal but then due to being caged it changes their temperament. They can turn meaner than they are than if they’re wild. It’s kind of something that I wouldn’t want to see here in this area,” Bonneville County Humane Society’s Sally Rigoulot.
But Renzo is shown in his video hand feeding an eight hundred pound Siberian tiger,
“This is Thunder. I’m hand feeding him raw meat from my hand”
It’s part of a training method he uses called human imprinting that familiarizes the animals with their trainers and allows the tigers to distinguish their food from the hand that’s feeding them.
Escaping from their fur-covered enclosures is something Renzo says has never happened in his operation’s thirty years of existence.
“It’s all roofed and sided with steel and steel posts. Heavy steel cemented in the ground,” Renzo said.
Although Renzo believes his operation would bring in plenty of tourist dollars, the blackfoot chamber of commerce told me this afternoon they’d never heard of him.
The Bingham County sheriff’s office said they’re not talking about the issue until it’s a reality.
And again at this point, Renzo is in the process of appealing the Department of Ag’s regulations, his court date is set for April 7th.
This is not the first time this big cat operation has faced opposition.
According to articles in the Reno Journal Gazette, Renzo has been forced to move his tigers four times.
And on one occasion while operating in California in the mid 90’s, his girlfriend was attacked by one of his animals.
A former aid to Renzo, said quote the animal went after her and really ripped up half of her scalp.
At that same time, video was also taken of Renzo dumping feces into a neighboring lot.
To be fair, county officials were also ordered by a grand jury to quit harassing Renzo.
My e-mail to Local News 8.com
Re: Tiger Trainer Reveals His Operation
This is a very disturbing story.
The Siberian or Amur Tiger is endangered, but to breed them for a life in captivity, and to have them perform in live shows is wrong. A true sanctuary does not breed or exploit its animals.
The Siberian Tiger is bred within the Survival Species Plan and there is no reason why this animal should be bred by sanctuaries or be bred and kept by private owners.
“The captive program for Amur tigers is the largest and longest managed program for any of the subspecies. The Amur tiger served as one of the models for the creation of scientifically managed programs for species in captivity in zoos and aquariums worldwide. For the most part, the Amur tiger is considered secure in captivity, with a large, genetically diverse and stable population.”
There are reputable sanctuaries that care for unwanted, neglected and abused big cats. They do not breed them to bring more cats into a life of captivity or exploit them in shows; they provide the care, safety and respect these cats deserve. Unfortunately there are also the “so-called” sanctuaries and organizations that try to pass themselves off as reputable ? if they breed and show their animals, they do not have the cats’ well-being at heart.
For The TIGER
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