Thursday, February 22, 1996

MAULING PROMPTS RALEIGH TO BAN LARGE PET ANIMALS

News & Record (Greensboro, NC)
February 22, 1996, Thursday
MAULING PROMPTS RALEIGH TO BAN LARGE PET ANIMALS

The mauling of a Cary boy by his father's pet tiger has prompted the Raleigh City Council to ban pet cats and bears weighing more than 35 pounds from inside the city limits.

''It's just a reactive thing,'' council member Paul Coble said following Tuesday's meeting. ''I wish we didn't have to do things like this. We can't write enough laws to keep people from doing stupid things.''

Tyler Forsythe suffered critical head injuries when the 6-foot, 250-300 pound tiger got beyond his father's control on Thanksgiving Day in Apex, where neither the town nor Wake County prohibits exotic animals. Until Tuesday, the only pet animals banned from Raleigh were pigs.

Tyler is home after spending weeks in the hospital and is recovering well, his father's attorney, Philip Redwine, said at a court hearing.

Mark Forsythe was convicted of misdemeanor child abuse and sentenced to a $ 100 fine, 12 months on probation and 100 hours of community service.

Monday, January 01, 1996

1996 Big Cat Attacks

Raleigh Extra
April 07, 1996, Sunday
County wants health board to ban exotic animals
ELEANORE J. HAJIAN Raleigh Extra staff

Tigers be warned. You are no longer welcome in Wake County.

The Wake County Commissioners came to that decision last week, when they suggested the county health board ban all dangerous exotic animals in the county. "I think we should bar most of these animals from Wake County," Commission Chairman Gary Pendleton said. "Who in the world would be a big enough fool to keep a tiger? What if someone decides to keep a grizzly bear or something?"

All other board members agreed with Pendleton's assessment that dangerous exotic animals -- basically anything that has the ability to eat people -- should be banned from Wake County.

Commissioners approved the all-out-ban on lions, tigers and bears after reviewing the revised county animal ordinance passed by the Wake County Board of Health last month.

The revised ordinance, which specifies how thick and high fencing must be, if there must be a roof, the size of the animal's living area and requires an extra outside safety fence for more dangerous animals, isn't enough to protect the public, commissioners insisted.

"I want to see some teeth in this,"Commissioner Betty Lou Ward said.

In addition, the revised ordinance also requires a stricter permitting process to ensure that an animal caretaker knows how to handle a pet. Also, owners must have a $ 1 million insurance policy to cover any injury or damage caused by the animal and places financial responsibility for recovery of lost animals solely on the owner.

The commissioners asked the health board to revise the ordinance again and impose some type of ban on dangerous exotic animals, with exceptions for professional handlers, researchers and the circus.

"I guess we have some more work to do," said Rick Rowe, deputy director of environmental health at the Wake County Department of Health.

Local governments began debating the issue of dangerous exotic animals after a pet tiger mauled a 3-year-old Cary boy on Thanksgiving Day. The boy's father, who owned the tiger, had removed the tiger from its cage in Apex and was walking it on a leash when it attacked and seriously injured the boy.

Although, the father's actions were not in compliance with the animal control ordinance at the time, Wake leaders called for stronger controls. The City of Raleigh banned exotic animals shortly thereafter.

Health board members had attempted to avoid an all-out-ban on exotic animals, since Wake County already has a handful of exotic pet owners. Animal control records show three orangutans, a jaguar and a hybrid wolf live in Wake County.



South Bend Tribune
March 3, 1996, Sunday
ENTIRE FAMILY AND ANIMAL SUFFER AFTER ATTACK

ANN LANDERS YOUR PROBLEMS * Creators Syndicate

DEAR ANN LANDERS: I am sending you a newspaper clipping from the Chicago Tribune about a child who was mauled by the family's pet tiger. It made me absolutely sick. Who in his right mind would buy a 350-pound wild animal for a family pet, especially when there were children in the household? Here's the story:

"A 3-year-old boy was attacked by his family's Bengal tiger on Thanksgiving Day and spent 14 hours in an operating room as surgeons treated him for severe head and face wounds, North Carolina officials said Friday. "Tyler William Forsythe was in critical condition after procedures to repair damage to his nerves and eyes. He also had emergency plastic surgery.

"Police said the boy was attacked by a 1-year-old, 350-pound tiger the family bought last summer. The father kept the declawed animal in a pen in a Raleigh suburb. He and his children were visiting it when the tiger attacked Tyler."

Ann, that tiger was then put to sleep for doing what tigers do naturally. And now the macho-man father has to deal with his son's crippling injuries for the rest of his life. There should be laws in this country to protect a wild beast from human stupidity.



Chicago Tribune
March 3, 1996 Sunday, CHICAGOLAND FINAL EDITION
THE LATEST WORD ON CHILD WHO WAS MAULED
Ann Landers.

Dear Ann Landers: I am sending you a newspaper clipping from the Chicago Tribune about a child who was mauled by the family's pet tiger. It made me absolutely sick. Who in his right mind would buy a 350-pound wild animal for a family pet, especially when there were children in the household? Here's the story:

"A 3-year-old boy was attacked by his family's Bengal tiger on Thanksgiving Day and spent 14 hours in an operating room as surgeons treated him for severe head and face wounds, North Carolina officials said Friday. "Tyler William Forsythe was in critical condition after procedures to repair damage to his nerves and eyes. He also had emergency plastic surgery.

"Police said the boy was attacked by a 1-year-old, 350-pound tiger the family bought last summer. The father kept the declawed animal in a pen in a Raleigh suburb. He and his children were visiting it when the tiger attacked Tyler."

Ann, that tiger was then put to sleep for doing what tigers do naturally. And now the macho-man father has to deal with his son's crippling injuries for the rest of his life. There should be laws in this country to protect a wild beast from human stupidity.

Disgusted in New York

Dear New York: We spoke with a police reporter at the Raleigh News and Observer, and these are the facts:

The father purchased the tiger as a cub and kept it in a chain-link cage on his in-laws' property. On Thanksgiving, he took the tiger out for a walk on a leash. That was the first time his children had been permitted to see the animal. Unfortunately, the little boy was allowed to get too close.

After the attack, the father shot the tiger once. When the police arrived, the tiger was still alive. They shot it again and killed it.

The father was convicted of misdemeanor child abuse. He was given a $100 fine, 12 months' probation and 100 hours of community service, along with a stern lecture from the judge. The boy was sent to Wake Medical Center in Raleigh in critical condition and was later transferred to Duke Medical Center at Duke University. He is now at home, undergoing rehabilitation.

I hope the boy has a full recovery. My heart goes out to the whole family.