Virginia zoo plans to replace euthanized tiger

December 11, 2006

For the last 18 years, she brought smiles to those of us who might never have caught a glimpse of a tiger. Yesterday, Ruby was put to sleep.

Yesterday should have been one of the happiest days of Dr. Bill Poage’s life. His son was getting married. But before he could head to the church, he had to put down one of his favorite patients, Ruby the tiger.

Dr. Bill Poage has been treating animals of all sizes for more than 26 years. When Ruby was brought to Mill Mountain Zoo in 1988, he was one of the first to meet her. Fittingly, he was also there at the end.

For the last several years, Ruby had battled arthritis in her left shoulder and a kidney condition. According to a post-mortem doctor’s report, it is that condition which lead to Ruby’s declining health.

Ruby’s cage is empty now. There is already thoughts on how the zoo can remember the big cat who called it home for so long. While zoo officials say they can never replace Ruby, a tiger exhibit is in the zoo’s future. That tiger exhibit is still years off.

In the meantime, zoo officials are up in the air as to how they are going to pay tribute to Ruby. Sean Greene, Executive Director of Mill Mountain Zoo, is asking that suggestions or donations be made to the zoo.

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