David Richtman of Gonzales, Texas. Check for yourself to see if he met the sanctuary standards for an accredited animal refuge. This photo is not of the rescued tiger.
North Texas Now Home To Rescued Tiger & Bears
(CBS 11 News) North Texas is now home to three exotic and potentially dangerous animals. Two black bears and a Bengal tiger were among more than a dozen animals seized Thursday morning during a raid at a south Texas ranch in Gonzales County.
Upon arrival the Bengal tiger seemed a bit upset and with good reason. He and more than a dozen other exotic dangerous animals have spent most of their lives together in very small enclosures.
“Poor bears can't even stand up in their cages. But this is their lucky day,” said Patty Mercer, Houston SPCA.
The Houston SPCA came to the rescue.
For the Gonzales County officials it's the end of an emotional seven year legal battle with the animal's owner.
“The condition of the animals, the works that's been done, all of this, it's finally reached a head. This is the end of a period,” said Glen Sachtleben, Gonzales County Sheriff.
One of the major problems for the rescued animals was their tight living quarters.
For nine years the Bengal tiger lived in a cage that was 4 ½ x 8.
"They're wild animals, they're used to vast expanses of ground to be able to roam around. They've been living in a life of a piece of plywood, a 4x8 area, to where they can just stand up lay down and that's it,” said Charles Jantzen, Houston SPCA.
The animals' owner, David Richtman, has been convicted of possessing and failing to register dangerous wild animals. He faces stiff fines and time in jail.
Richtman has permanently lost his bears and tigers. The next step is to find the animals permanent homes.
"There's no place for these animals to go. People acquire them as pets. There are not enough reputable sanctuary placements for them. Zoos don't want them, I mean most people assume that zoos want to take these animals, but zoos are full and they don't want these animals,” Mercer said.
There is hope for the Bengal tiger. The International Exotic Feline Sanctuary in Wise County has agreed to keep him there.
The executive director of The International Exotic Feline Sanctuary said, “He's retired here right here. He's not going anywhere. He'll have a spacious habitat to live in for the rest of his life."
Two of the black bears will be held at the North Texas Humane Society in Fort Worth until permanent homes are found.
April 20, 2006
Write your legislators and tell them that wild animals should not be bred for life in cages at www.CatLaws.com
(4/20/06 - KTRK/HOUSTON) - Officials have seized more than a dozen dangerous wild animals from a home in Gonzales.
Also on ABC13.com:
Responding to a call from Gonzales County officials, the Houston SPCA Cruelty Investigators and the Houston Zoo rescued 16 animals. Among the animals were 11 bears, 2 tigers, 2 wild hogs and one macaw.
These animals were seized by Gonzales County under the Texas Dangerous Wild Animal law. This law regulates the keeping of dangerous wild animals and provides minimum standards that a person must maintain for these animals. The bears and tigers were taken from the home for failure to meet these standards. It is believed that Gonzales County is the first County in the State of Texas to seize wild animals under this law.
The animals have been owned since the early 80's and used in exhibits and in performances. They have been living in transport cages in a poultry barn for more than nine years.
The two hogs and macaw were seized under a warrant for animal cruelty. Gonzales County has given the Houston SPCA custody of these animals in order to find appropriate permanent placements for them.
The Houston Zoo provided veterinary and other staff to help ensure the safe transport of the animals. The Humane Society of North Texas agreed to house two of the black bears until permanent placement could be made. The International Exotic Feline Sanctuary has given a home to one of the tigers at their facility in Boyd, Texas. The two bears and one tiger will be transported to these locations by the SPCA of Texas. One of the bears has found a permanent home at the Wildlife Reserve and Rehabilitation in Kendalia, Texas.
The remaining bears, two hogs and macaw will be housed at the Houston SPCA until room can be found at reputable sanctuaries across the country. The second tiger will be temporarily housed at the Houston Zoo until placement.
The breakdown of animals seized is as follows:
2 Grizzly Bears, 25 years- both male 1 Kodiak Bear, 22 years- female 4 Black Bears,11 years, male, 11 years, female, 14 years male, 18 years female 2 Cinnamon Bears, 12 years female, 14 years male 2 Asiatic Bears, 30 years male, 15 years male 2 Tigers, 12 years male, 8 years male 2 wild hogs 1 gold and blue Macaw several dogs and catsOther agencies that assisted in this rescues were Gonzales County Officials, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the San Antonio Zoo, Wild Animal Orphanage, the Brownsville Zoo and the Fort Worth Zoo.