All Acting Animals (Mitchell, Karl)
USDA License #88-C-0076
6941 Oakridge Rd., Pahrump, NV 89048
All Acting Animals has failed to meet minimal federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has filed formal charges against All Acting Animals for chronic, serious violations that include failure to provide animals with drinking water, failure to provide wholesome, uncontaminated food, failure to provide shelter from the elements, failure to provide adequate space, and failure to maintain enclosures and for threatening and harassing USDA officials. The USDA has cited All Acting Animals for failure to provide veterinary care and for filthy and unsanitary conditions. Karl Mitchell has been arrested numerous times and charged with burglary, carrying loaded guns in public, assault, felony stalking, auto theft, and evading arrest. The California Fish and Game Department considers Mitchell a danger to both people and animals. Contact PETA for documentation.
Animals in 2010 inventory: 12 tigers, 2 ligers, a lion, a kangaroo, and a camel according to news reports and Mitchell’s statements.
July 8, 2011: Karl Mitchell is still openly advertising on his website bigcatencounters that he will let anyone with pet a tiger for $500.00 per person per hour. “Children welcome,” he claims.
September 17, 2010: Mitchell was ordered to leave the property by Justice of the Peace Gus Sullivan from Beatty as the result of an eviction proceeding in which he had failed to pay rent since June.
September 9, 2010: Despite losing his USDA license, Karl Mitchell has been caught by USDA exhibiting in 2004, 2008, and 2009. A federal judge finally fined him $68,625.00 and yet again issued a third cease and desist order demanding that he quit exhibiting big cats.
February 5, 2001: According to a KLAS-TV Las Vegas, Nevada, news report covering Mitchell’s controversial hiring as head of Nye County Animal Control, “California Fish and Game has seized animals from Mitchell, denied him permits for others, and characterized him as ‘a dangerous person and a serious liability to any person or animal he’s involved with.’ [Mitchell has been arrested for] burglary, carrying loaded guns in public, [and] assault. In Nye County, he was busted a dozen times in just six years, for, among other things, pointing a loaded gun at a person and trying to intimidate witnesses. In a 1996 interview, Mitchell’s then-wife said he started beating her shortly after they were married. The last time, he sent her to a hospital with broken ribs. Mitchell was busted in Clark County for felony stalking of his estranged wife.”
The newscast also stated that Clark County officials reported Mitchell had sewn shut a snake’s mouth using a needle and thread-and no anesthesia-to keep the animal’s mouth closed during use on a movie set.
January 18, 2001: The USDA filed charges against All Acting Animals for violating the Animal Welfare Act . USDA investigators found that on several occasions, Mitchell had interfered with, threatened, abused, and harassed USDA officials in the performance of their duties. In addition, investigators have documented that Mitchell has failed to:
· allow officials access to his facilities, animals, and records
· maintain required records
· maintain enclosures
· adequately store supplies of food so as to protect them from deterioration or spoilage
· provide sufficient shade to protect animals from direct sunlight
· provide shelter from inclement weather
· house animals in outdoor facilities with a proper perimeter fence
· construct perimeter fencing that restricts the entrance of other animals
· provide animals with sufficient space in which to make normal postural and social adjustments
· provide food that was wholesome, palatable, and free of contamination
· provide animals with water as often as necessary for the health and comfort of the animal
· maintain an effective program for the control of pests
· properly clean and repair premises
September 14, 2000: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to correct previously identified violations of not providing adequate shelter from the elements, failure to repair enclosures and fences, and poor housekeeping. The inspector discussed watering regulations after Mitchell stated that he withholds water as a training technique . This practice may lead to dehydration and cause serious damage to internal organs. The USDA inspection team requested and received an escort from the Nye County sheriff’s office.
July 24, 2000: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to correct previously identified violations of not providing adequate shelter from the elements, failure to provide minimum space, failure to provide animals with drinking water, filthy conditions, and failure to repair enclosures and fences . The inspector wrote, “Animals appeared crowded and unable to receive the exercise required for healthy young animals. . Several enclosures had a buildup of old, soiled, and damp straw bedding. . [A]ccess to residence was repeatedly denied by licensee, Karl Mitchell. When asked if animals were in the house, he stated that there were ‘no cats in the house that we want to see.’”
All Acting Animals was also cited for giving a kangaroo drinking water that was “totally fouled, red in color, and opaque.” The kangaroo enclosure had a buildup of fecal material and soiled straw. A young camel had no ventilated shade to provide relief from heat. All Acting Animals was cited for failure to provide wholesome, palatable, and uncontaminated food and failure to maintain records of acquisition and disposition. The inspector also noted that Mitchell was instructed to remove a sign identifying the facility as a “USDA Government Facility.” The USDA inspection team requested and received an escort from the Nye County sheriff’s office.
June 29, 2000: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to correct a previously identified violation of refusing access to the premises . The inspector wrote, “Mr. Mitchell denied access to his facility for an inspection on June 29, 2000. He did not provide a reason for not allowing us to inspect. He refused to sign the inspection report and walked away.”
May 16, 2000: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to correct a previously identified violation of not providing animals with adequate shelter from the elements .
A lion named Nala was not provided minimum space. The inspector wrote, ” Enclosure has inadequate space as evidenced by poor coat condition and abnormal behavior patterns (i.e., stereotypic pacing) .” The facility was cited for failure to provide animals with water. The inspector wrote, ” When released, [a tiger cub named Valentino] drank thirstily for several minutes .” The USDA cited All Acting Animals for filthy conditions. The inspector found enclosures with a buildup of fecal material and old, soiled, and damp straw bedding. All Acting Animals was also cited for failure to provide access to records, enclosures in disrepair, and improper food storage.
April 11, 2000: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to correct previously identified violations of not providing animals with adequate shelter from the elements and direct sunlight as well as for poor housekeeping . All Acting Animals was also cited for unsanitary conditions and inadequate pest control.
January 20, 2000: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to have a responsible person available for inspection. The inspector noted, “Unauthorized public would have easy and immediate access to enclosures housing large exotic felids. . [I]nspector observed enclosures in disrepair and without adequate shelter.”
December 7, 1999: All Acting Animals was cited for failure to provide veterinary care to a lion with a weak and wobbly gait , failure to have a current veterinary care program, failure to maintain records of acquisition and disposition, failure to secure enclosures to prevent unauthorized access, improperly constructed enclosures, failure to provide shelter from the elements, inadequate perimeter fencing, failure to provide a veterinarian-approved diet, and poor housekeeping.
January 7, 1999: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to have a local veterinarian and failure to provide minimum space to a tiger named Diva.
September 9, 1998: AWA Docket No. 97-0028. Decision and Order filed September 9, 1998. in re: KARL MITCHELL d/b/a ALL ACTING ANIMALS. Cease and Desist Order – Civil Penalty – Filing License Application and PVC Form Falsely Purporting to be Signed by Applicant and Veterinarian. Chief Administrative LawJudge Victor W. Palmer found that Respondent violated the Animal Welfare Act and a regulation issued pursuant thereto by submitting a license application and a Program of Veterinary Care form (PVC) which were purportedly signed by the applicant for the license and the veterinarian who completed the PVC form, which instead had been signed by the Respondent. Chief Judge Palmer imposed a $750.00 civil penalty and a cease and desist order. In determining the penalty, Chief Judge Palmer noted that the violation did not endanger the welfare of animals and was unlikely to recur. Donald A. Tracy, for Complainant. Benjamin Zvenia, Las Vegas, NV, for Respondent. Decision and Order issued by Victor IV Palmer. Chief Administrative Law Judge. For the reasons hereinafter stated, an order is being issued requiring Respondent to cease and desist from violating the Act and the regulations and assessing a civil penalty of $750.00.
June 30, 1998: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to correct the previously identified violations of not properly disposing of food and animal waste and poor housekeeping .
All Acting Animals was also cited for using soiled bedding material, enclosures in need of repair, and a cluttered food preparation area.
May 13, 1996: All Acting Animals was cited by the USDA for giving animals contaminated drinking water in dirty receptacles, filthy enclosures littered with several days of feces and food waste , failure to adequately train employees, failure to make transport enclosures, program of veterinary care, and acquisition and disposition records available for inspection, inadequate pest control, and grounds and food storage area scattered with trash.
August 3, 1993: The USDA sent certified mail to All Acting Animals cautioning the facility that its repeated failure to construct a perimeter fence could result in legal action.
August 1, 1993: According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal , Mitchell acquired two “liger” (tiger and lion crossbreed) cubs from Jordan Circus after they were born on the road. Mitchell claimed that the cubs make “good pets.”
July 13, 1993: The USDA cited All Acting Animals for failure to correct a previously identified violation of not constructing a perimeter fence . The facility was also cited for improper fencing and fencing in disrepair, algae buildup in the tigers’ water receptacle, and poor housekeeping.
July 11, 1990: According to the Las Vegas Sun , Karl Mitchell stored a 5-year-old tiger in a garage for nearly three months. Mitchell was asked to remove the tiger when he failed to provide proof of insurance to the owner of the garage. The tiger was relocated to a bookmobile.
June 24, 1985: The San Diego Union-Tribune reported, “Following a wild chase, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies booked Karl Mitchell, 33, for investigation of evading arrest, assault against an officer, auto theft, possession of a concealed weapon, damaging a state vehicle, and possessing a tiger without a permit.”
Check for yourself to see if they meet the sanctuary standards for an accredited animal refuge.
Mitchell faces USDA fine, eviction
Posted on 24 September 2010 By MARK WAITE
Shaquille the Leopard Was Beaten in the Face by Mitchell
Pahrump exotic animal owner Karl Mitchell, owner of Big Cat Encounters, has been battling the law on the federal and local level recently.
Last month, Victor Palmer, an administrative law judge for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, slapped $68,625 in fines and a cease and desist order on Mitchell for exhibiting his animals in violation of the Animal Welfare Act.
Now Mitchell is fighting eviction in Pahrump Justice Court at his latest home on Homestead Road, just north of Terrible’s Lakeside Casino.
Palmer’s order, following a hearing in Las Vegas in April, fined Mitchell for exhibiting tigers for compensation without a license, exhibiting the tigers to the public without sufficient space and barriers for the public and refusing to allow his facilities to be inspected by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service APHIS.
The judge said Mitchell also failed on 12 occasions to obey two cease and desist orders previously entered against him by the Secretary of Agriculture.
The USDA revoked Mitchell’s Animal Welfare Act license in 2001, and levied a $16,775 penalty following a cease and desist order. Mitchell continued to violate the order, exhibiting tigers in 2004, 2008 and 2009, the USDA said, including a tiger brought to a Paris Hilton reality show in June 2009. People were allowed to pet the tigers tethered to a chain for a fee, but it wasn’t separated by a barrier.
Mitchell claimed Big Cat Encounters, as an animal rescue organization, was exempt as a non-profit corporation. The federal judge disagreed, saying the exhibition of his animals to the public was for compensation.
The judge cited a case involving The International Siberian Tiger Foundation, which illustrated the dangers of allowing the public to come in close proximity to tigers, even when they are declawed, chained and controlled by two trainers. In that case numerous people were bitten, one person required 50 stitches.
On this third cease and desist order against Mitchell, it includes for the first time his organization, Big Cat Encounters. But the judge fined Mitchell half of the maximum penalty for handling violations, since no one was hurt. He also assessed half the penalty for failing to allow an inspection of his facilities, since there was no evidence of mistreatment of the animals.
A sentence of $1,500 was levied for each of the 12 occasions when Mitchell failed to obey previous cease and desist orders.
USDA spokesman Dave Sacks said Mitchell has yet to pay the fine. Mitchell appealed the decision Sept. 9; the Pahrump Valley Times filed a U.S. Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of his appeal.
In an e-mail response, Mitchell said: “The USDA was seeking $1.5 million in fines. So the government overreached by 98 percent. The rest is up for appeal. The USDA has not replied, so we shall see.”
Nye County has also been dealing with Mitchell.
In December, Mitchell was denied a conditional use permit to keep seven Bengal tigers at his sanctuary on Manse Road by the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission.
Neighbor Gene Lovas, in a letter to the editor, said he was startled after Thanksgiving 2009 to find the most dangerous animals on the planet were being kept in his neighborhood. Doug Howard, president of Escapees Co-op RV Park, presented petitions with 87 signatures opposing the permit.
Desert World Realty filed an affidavit to evict Mitchell from his latest residence on Homestead Road Aug. 27.
According to justice court minutes, the landlord testified at a Sept. 13 hearing Mitchell signed a six-month lease Feb. 5 and was given a $5,000 credit to fix up the property. Mitchell also agreed to get a conditional use permit allowing him to keep his big cats on the property, but failed to do so. The landlord also complained Mitchell hasn’t paid rent since June 1.
The Nye County Code Compliance Department has an open case on Mitchell’s Homestead Road property.
Mitchell was ordered to leave the property by Sept. 17 by visiting Justice of the Peace Gus Sullivan from Beatty, according to court minutes.
Mitchell filed a motion to stay the eviction Sept. 17, pending a hearing last Monday, the minutes state.
During the latest hearing on Monday, Mitchell told Pahrump Justice of the Peace Kent Jasperson he didn’t have the money to move numerous big cats, but will be receiving money for the airing of a television program within 30 days.
“Mr. Mitchell stated he has located a place to rent but does not have the money to move unless the landlord returns the $8,700 owed for the repairs,” the court minutes state.
Exotic animal owners Zuzana Kukol and Scott Shoemaker, 1211 Arnold Ct., who have drawn praise from officials for their elaborate shelters housing lions and tigers on the northwest side of Pahrump, complained to Nye County Commissioners Tuesday about a rezoning that will bring a new road close to their cages.
The commission approved a zone change of 80 acres from an RE-2 zone to RE-1 at 4751 W. Adkisson Street and a tentative map application to subdivide it into 50 residential lots and 10 open space lots for the Sunset Valley Subdivision.
The Pahrump Regional Planning Commission recommended approval Aug. 11, on the grounds the project complied with the Pahrump master plan. Previously, a landowner was given a conditional use permit to house up to 12 exotic animals on this property in March 2009, but the RPC cancelled it on June 9, 2010.
A special condition was imposed by the RPC to require the developer to disclose to any lot buyer there are special condition animals in close proximity to the subdivision.
Mitchell to appear of Animal Planet TV
Exotic animal owner Karl Mitchell will be featured on one of the episodes of a five-part series on The Animal Planet television network entitled “Fatal Attractions.”
The series debuts at 9 p.m. Oct. 8. A description of the series on The Animal Planet website states the series shares cautionary tales of people who live with wild, exotic animals, despite the often deadly consequences.
The advance on the series states Mitchell, a Vietnam veteran and professional exotic, wild animal trainer for years no longer considered it just his job, but began interacting with tigers on an intensely personal level.
“They’re deadly, yes,” Mitchell said. “But they keep me going.”
Mitchell told the network the tigers help relieve him from the anxiety he still suffers from serving in combat in the Vietnam War.
The series includes a woman who brought a lion and tiger cub to her Harlem apartment and was nearly killed. A 74-year-old woman who was killed by her collection of bears is profiled.
(If you saw the Fatal Attractions piece, then you saw Karl Mitchell punching the big cats in the nose to subdue them.)
Karl Mitchell / All Acting Animals big cats go to San Antonio
By Angie Wagner
1:37 p.m. March 2, 2005
PAHRUMP, Nev. – Down a quiet gravel road lined by homes, six tigers and two leopards live amid the roosters and cats in a small back yard. They are hungry and dirty, and their owner can no longer care for them.
Carol Asvestas is tired of seeing the same scene played out across the country. Big cats are taken in as pets or kept in so-called sanctuaries, but then are neglected by owners who become overwhelmed.
Many big cats, like the ones here, will end up with Asvestas at her San Antonio , Texas , Wild Animal Orphanage.
Animal protection groups want private ownership of big cats outlawed. They say that with an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 large cats kept as pets in the United States , the problem is out of control.
Just last week, authorities shot and killed a 425-pound tiger that had been roaming the hills near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Los Angeles . Where it came from and who owned it is unknown.
State laws vary on owning exotic animals such as tigers, wolves and alligators. Just 14 ban private ownership altogether; eight have a partial ban on some species, 13 states regulate exotic animals and 15 states, including Nevada, have no regulations of many exotic animals, according to the Animal Protection Institute.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires licenses for exhibitors, dealers and researchers, but not private owners keeping a big cat as a pet.
“It’s a huge public safety risk that is 100 percent preventable,” said Dr. Kim Haddad, a veterinarian and manager of the Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition, made up of more than 20 animal protection groups, sanctuaries and zoos.
“The solution is so easy. You just cannot have these animals as pets.”
Sure, tiger cubs are cute and cuddly. But when they reach 600 pounds and eat 20 pounds of meat a day, owners often find themselves in over their heads. And it’s often Asvestas who comes in to help.
Such was the case in Pahrump, a dusty desert town near the California border, where a woman decided she couldn’t care for her back yard tigers and leopards anymore. One pet leopard was quarantined after it bit off the tip of the woman’s finger last week.
Asvestas and the International Fund for Animal Welfare organized a rescue mission Tuesday, at the owner’s request. She and helpers tranquilized, then loaded the skinny and mangy cats one by one into a trailer for the trip to Texas . There, they will be among 700 animals, 200 of them big cats. In the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson on Wednesday, the group collected two tigers, three lions and four wolves from another private owner.
Animal groups cite numerous incidents of big cats getting loose or harming someone.
- A 600-pound tiger belonging to a former Tarzan actor escaped in Florida and sent authorities on a 26-hour hunt before the tiger was shot and killed last July. The state does not monitor the keeping of exotic animals as pets.
- A 10-year-old boy at a relative’s house in North Carolina was killed by a tiger that pulled him inside its cage in December 2003. The next month, a tiger mauled a 14-year-old girl taking pictures in a tiger’s cage at her father’s farm. There is no state law about owning exotic animals.
- In April 2003, authorities found 58 dead tiger cubs stuffed into freezers, 30 dead adult tigers, and two alligators in a bathtub at a California home. California has one of the strictest exotic pet laws in the nation, but critics say enforcement is a problem.
- Pet owner Antoine Yates was bitten on the leg in 2003 by the pet tiger he kept in his New York apartment, a building where children also lived. New York now bans possession of many wild animals, though it doesn’t apply to current owners.
The popularity of owning big cats prompted Congress to pass a law in 2003 that makes it illegal to sell or ship lions, tigers and other big cats across state lines without permits. But animal welfare groups want an outright ban, saying the 5,000 to 7,000 privately owned tigers probably exceed the total number in the wild.
“It is an odd phenomenon where people are setting up, essentially, personal zoos,” said Chris Cutter, spokesman for the IFAW. “For some people, it’s a status thing.”
The call for an end to private ownership is not unanimous. Patti Strand, president of the National Animal Interest Alliance, said her organization supports regulation of exotic pet owners, but said people who can handle the animals should be able to have them.
“There is a growing body of animal groups that do nothing but exploit rather than try to solve problems because there are fund-raising dollars to be made by the sensationalism that goes along with that,’ she said.
The tigers in Pahrump, kept in cages behind a tan-colored trailer home, were part of a defunct animal sanctuary, said Steven A. Benson, who identified himself as a board member.
“There’s just too many cats to take care of,” Benson said. “It’s overwhelming.”
Animal groups say many big cat owners set up as a nonprofit sanctuary as a front to get money and really aren’t capable of caring for the animals.
“You have a lot of facilities out there who call themselves sanctuaries or rescue facilities,” Haddad said. “For the most part, a lot of these people, these animals are their pets and they keep collecting them.”
Big cats kept and bred in captivity can never be released in the wild because their fear of man is gone, and often their genetics are upset through inbreeding. As long as animals are kept in back yards, Asvestas will likely keep getting calls.
“I get tired,” she said. “I can’t take them all. We just turned down five animals last week.”
EDITOR’S NOTE – Angie Wagner is the AP’s Western regional writer, based in Las Vegas .
Big Cat Rescue Note:
Shaquille, the black leopard and Dara, the cougar were rescued from Karl Mitchell many years ago. They had been beaten unmercifully and Dara (who is gone now) had a brain infection from the severity of her blows to the skull. For years when we would tell people about Shaq’s story people would ask, “Why can’t someone shut him down!” It wasn’t until the owner was sent to jail for stealing a car that anything could be done to save the animals.
March 4, 2005
Exotic animals in town rescued
MITCHELL’S TIGERS, LEOPARDS HEADED TO SAN ANTONIO REFUGE
By DOUG McMURDO PVT
HORACE LANGFORD JR. / PVT
Norma Lagutchik of Animal Sanctuary of the United States helps Chuck Tay and Trey Alecio (not pictured) carry a sedated tiger to a trailer designed to transport the big cats from the far western Pahrump compound of Karl Mitchell, now imprisoned on theft charges.
Karl Mitchell, the former Pahrump and Amargosa Valley animal control contractor, might still be in the pen but the tigers and leopards he kept for years at a compound in extreme western Pahrump were freed Tuesday, in a sense, when members of the Animal Sanctuary of the United States arrived to haul off six tigers and two leopards to the Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio.
According to Josephine Martell, Sandy Allman contacted the group last week and asked for assistance. Martell said the exotic cats were living in deplorable conditions.
Martell, a captive wild animal specialist with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said Allman, who last week had the tip of her index finger bit off by a leopard, had tried in vain to care for the tigers, but “she was barely hanging on. The animals hadn’t seen a vet in more than a year. They were covered in feces and had urine burns … the conditions were just really filthy.”
One of Allman’s neighbors called the newspaper Tuesday to say he was happy the cats were being taken away, but fretted over the large number of dogs still on the property. “They are all in bad shape,” said the man, who spoke on condition his name not be used. “They’ve been hauling stuff to the dump for days now, but that place is in bad shape. What are they going to do about the dogs?” Allman is Mitchell’s former partner.
Mitchell is one of Nye County ‘s more controversial characters. He is now in prison following a theft conviction last year related to a Suburban he failed to return to the dealership after its lease expired and he awaits sentencing on additional theft charges after he cashed three checks totaling more than $40,000. The checks were mistakenly sent to Mitchell after Nye County Commissioners terminated his animal control contract in 2000.
In 2001 the United States Department of Agriculture revoked Mitchell’s All Acting Animals license to own exotic cats after it was determined he didn’t provide minimal care per federal standards.
Where they are going is going to seem like heaven. According to Martell the Wild Animal Orphanage will treat and “immediately vet” the cats, they will be put on a diet and will see a veterinarian regularly. “It’s a big, natural habitat,” Martell said of the orphanage. “There will be no contact with humans, and they’ll be neutered so no breeding, but they will be able to live out their lives in peace.”
Martell said the no breeding rule is included in sanctuary standards, and is used to spot illegitimate sanctuaries that would exploit the animals for profit.
“After getting the tigers and leopards from All Acting Animals some much-needed veterinary care, I greatly look forward to releasing them in to spacious, naturalistic enclosures,” stated Carol Asvestas , executive director of the Wild Animal Orphanage.
Martell said the group was at Betty Honn’s Animal Adoption Ltd. in Henderson on Wednesday to rescue eight tigers, three lions, two leopards, four wolves, and four monkeys. The taking was necessary, said Martell, in light of Honn’s death and the subsequent insolvency of her sanctuary.
The leopard that bit Allman last week remains penned up on the Pahrump property. It is in quarantine.
To: National Desk
Contact: Chris Cutter, 508-737-4623 or firstname.lastname@example.org , Kerry Branon, 508-744-2068 or email@example.com , both of the International Fund for Animal Welfare
YARMOUTH PORT , Mass. , March 1 / U.S. Newswire/ — Thirteen big cats and their neighbors will be safer thanks to the help of IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org). Over the next two days, an IFAW-funded sanctuary, the Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) is moving three lions, two leopards, four wolves and eight tigers from two separate homes near Las Vegas to a suitable sanctuary in Texas .
“Keeping lions and tigers as pets is a growing phenomenon that is causing a huge public safety and animal welfare issue,” said IFAW’s Josephine Martell, “It’s a bad idea for animals and people.”
The number of Americans keeping tigers and other big cats as pets continues to grow. IFAW estimates that there are 10,000 tigers being kept as pets in the U.S. , double the amount left living in the wild in the entire world. Since 1990, tigers have killed 11 people and injured 60 others. Just last week, a tiger escaped and was roaming the neighborhoods of Ventura County , near Los Angeles before it was shot and killed by authorities.
“Many of the animals are living in filthy conditions. They are malnourished, without water and standing in their own excrement in cages that are too small,” WAO’s Carole Asvestas said. “With IFAW’s help, we will provide them with the care and facilities they deserve.”
Across the country, legislators have realized that private ownership of dangerous animals is a national public safety threat. State legislation is currently being considered across the country including Washington , Maryland , Arkansas , Iowa , Ohio and Missouri . Although the passage of the Captive Wildlife Safety Act outlawed the selling and shipping of big cats across state lines without permit, there is no federal ban against owning a tiger, lion or another big cat as a pet.