Tuesday, May 02, 2006

South Carolina Orangeburg County

South Carolina Orangeburg County

This tiger, housed in an 8 foot by 8 foot cage at 12534 North Road, North, South Carolina in Orangeburg County, is not accredited by The Association of Sanctuaries. She has been living in this cramped squalor for three years according to reports from the White family. Check for yourself to see if they meet the sanctuary standards for an accredited animal refuge.

Tiger in Tiny CageView the video HERE See more photos HERE

(Orangeburg Co.) - A large, pet tiger in Orangeburg County is raising concerns over exotic animals and their treatment.

Currently, it's not illegal for Orangeburg County residents to own tigers, but the county's animal control officers say they're pushing for increased regulations after a woman on Highway 178 decided to keep a tiger in her front yard.

Orangeburg County officials aren't the only ones concerned. Lexington County resident Michael White came across the tiger two weeks ago while working in the area and says he's been worried about it ever since.

"There's animal bones littering...waste littering the area. It's just unsanitary. Flies everywhere. It smells nasty," White said.

News19 took White's concerns to Riverbanks Zoo curator John Davis. He says the animal, itself, looks healthy but believes the living conditions are cause for concern.

"Space is important. That's substantially less than we would provide," Davis said while reviewing video of the conditions. "Rancid meat that would attract other pests and insects are something we in the zoo profession stay clear of."

While Orangeburg County Animal Control officers say it's not ideal, there's little they can do since cruelty laws only protect domesticated pets.

"All we can do is speak with the property owner and advise him people are concerned about it," Earl Whalen said.

Whalen says the residents are being cooperative but that his office is still concerned about the neighborhood's safety.

"Anything could be potential for the escape of the cat if the property owner is not keeping 24 hour surveillance on it," Whalen said.

As Orangeburg County deals with these concerns, animal control officers are pushing for increased zoning regulations regarding the care of exotic animals.

There is also currently a bill in the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources that would limit who could own an exotic animal and what caging and care requirements they would have to follow.

Addie Bradshaw, Reporter addiebradshaw@wltx.gannett.com

Updated: 5/2/2006 7:24:11 AM


Notes from Michael White:

I discovered this beautiful Bengal tiger on April 20, 2006, while investigating a tip concerning a malnourished horse. The above tiger is located at a private residence located at 12534 North Road, North, South Carolina in Orangeburg County. That same day, I began contacting local, county, state and finally federal officials asking for assistance in removing this cat from her horrible conditions. I found that many authorities were already well aware of this cat and in fact, Orangeburg County has reports dating back a little over three years. The most common comment made was that there was no where to house the tiger and certainly no way to transport her should housing be found. In a single day, I located a federally sanctioned big cat sanctuary in Kingston, TN called Tiger Haven. They were and still are willing to take possession of this tiger, transport her safely back to TN and allow her to live the rest of her life in peace and harmony. She will be housed in proper surroundings, fed proper foods and be allowed to be with her own kind. All of this will be at no cost. Even with this being offered, I have been repeatedly told that since there are no laws in Orangeburg County to prevent the owners from housing her this way, there is little that they, or anyone else, can do.

Michael J. White Tiger Haven, Inc.
258 Calhoun Road 237 Harvey Road
Swansea, SC 29160 Kingston, TN 37763
803-568-2896 865-376-4100
Fourfeetfarrier@yahoo.com tigerfriends@tigerhaven.org.

Below is an email written by my husband, Mike, regarding a Bengal tiger in North, South Carolina. This beautiful animal is being housed in an 8x8 dog kennel and has been there for approximately three years. She is being fed various meats, including road-kill. At present, she has no shelter.

The more people we tell about this situation, the louder our voices become.

Tearsa D. White

Hi, My name is Michael White. I live in Swansea S.C. and work as a farrier. I was going to check out a lead on a horse not being fed properly and came across this tiger. After two weeks of pleading with officials from local, state and federal agencies I have not had much help in the rescue of this tiger. I was told by Orangeburg animal control that they and orangeburg county sheriffs have known about and been called out to this tiger on numerous occasions only to take pictures write a report and then just go away. The official position on the tiger is that there are no laws to prohibit these crack dealing stupid white trash people from owning this tiger. That is not the issue I think. I think the issue is the poor housing and general neglect of this beautiful animal. I have no luck in my dealings with police, animal control, county councilmen, senators, game wardens, USDA, SCDA, US Dept. of fish and wildlife, sled, or the countless other officials I have asked for help. I hope this will make someone take action. If any one would like a list of the names and phone numbers of the people that did or did not help me feel free to call me at (803)568-2896. I have a complete team standing by to remove, transport, and house this tiger free of charge. This team consist of myself, The vet from our local zoo and the great people from the big cat sanctuary Tigerhaven from kingston Tennessee. Tigerhaven has a nice website. They also have all the gear and permits to transport and house this tiger safely and again it is all free to the county and state. All we need is an official person to make the call to remove this poor tiger from the hell she lives in.

If you live in South Carolina, contact your state representatives HERE.

If you don't live in S.C. but want to help stop animals from ending up in the hands of people like this you can help by supporting federal bills that would ban the trade in exotic cats. One that is pending in 2006, that has died 6 years in a row due to apathy is the Canned Hunt bill. This bill would make the breeders of exotic cats responsible for where they end up. If breeders could be fined for their animals showing up in canned hunts or in deplorable situations such as this, they would not have any incentive to breed and sell. Support that bill in the Senate HERE and support that bill in the House HERE.