Friday, January 23, 2009

Escaped tiger nabbed near Ingram

Escaped tiger nabbed near Ingram

By Zeke MacCormack - Express-News

Kerr County authorities say they'll retain custody of Kimra, a Bengal tiger, until its owner repairs the pen from which the big cat escaped briefly Sunday morning, alarming its Ingram-area neighbors.

The 300-pound pet was shot with a dart gun about 4 a.m. Sunday, said Jamie Roman, Kerr County animal control officer.

“We tranquilized the tiger and took it into custody and the owner is currently working to get the enclosure back into compliance,” she said.

The tiger wasn't acting aggressively, Roman said, and its owner, Anke Leitner, was present when it was caught in a neighbor's yard on Beaver Street just outside Ingram.

Still, Roman admitted, “It was pretty intense.”

Mildred Crenshaw, in whose yard the animal was shot, agreed.

“That's a terrible feeling to wake up with police surrounding your house, with their lights on, and to look out your window and see a tiger standing there,” she said Wednesday.

Crenshaw's daughter, who has a police radio scanner, called to tell her what was transpiring. “Nobody came to my door. Nobody called,” said Crenshaw, 79.

Kimra is properly registered with the county, as required under dangerous animals regulations adopted in 2001, Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer said.

That hasn't eased the concern among those living near the tiger's home, he said.

“I guarantee you all those people don't want it there, but unfortunately she's meeting the law and there's nothing I can do about it,” Hierholzer said.

Leitner declined comment. It took five people to move the sedated animal, which is being kept at an undisclosed location until the pen is repaired and reinspected, Roman said.

“Apparently when (Leitner) went to feed the cat, one of the barbed wires on top (of the pen) fell off and it jumped on a small ledge and got out,” said Roman.

Crenshaw said Leitner's tiger has been a cause of concern for years to nearby residents, some of whom appealed to county and state leaders to no avail.

“Regardless of if she has the right permits and everything else, I don't think anybody should have one, period,” Crenshaw said. “They're not pets.”

Beyond the county regulations, Texas law sets requirements for the registration of dangerous animals and their penning, transport, care, sales and liability insurance coverage. The statute's long list of dangerous animals includes lions, tigers, bears, hyenas, chimps, gorillas and “any hybrid” of any one of them.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/pets/Escaped_tiger_nabbed_near_Ingram.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

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