Moron Keeps Tiger in the House

Most people are happy enough with dogs guarding their homes from criminals but not Brakpan resident Michael Jamison, who has added a tiger to his already large army of canine friends.

Jamison told Talk Radio 702 that he acquired the now 32kg tiger cub, named Enzo, to beef up security at his home after it had been burgled twice. According to Jamison, he now feels much safer, and guarded, with the tiger at the foot of his bed.

But a number of wildlife experts have expressed concern that keeping an animal like a tiger at home could create numerous problems. John Varty, of the Tiger Canyons breeding and rehabilitation centre in Philippolis, Free State, said keeping big cats in the suburbs could present serious problems. “As soon as the tiger gets big enough, it is very likely that it will attack anything that is smaller than it,” he said yesterday.

He explained that children and any dogs or other pets were at risk of being attacked and, in all likelihood, killed by the tiger. “A tiger is a wild animal, and it cannot be tamed,” he said. Varty said that keeping tigers in homes also constituted cruelty to the animals because the animal was likely to be socially damaged and extremely unhappy, adding to the risk of violent behaviour.

Varty also scoffed at the idea of a tiger as a security measure and said that even if this were the case, it did not justify the inhumane treatment of the animal. “If someone does try and break in, the tiger will kill that person and will then end up having to be kept in a cage,” he said. “This just means one more tiger to add to the 45000 caged tigers worldwide.”

Brenda Santon, a wildlife expert at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, echoed these views, saying the treatment of the animal was grossly inhumane. She said that tigers lived for approximately 20 years, and could grow to weigh about 300kg. “What is this man going to do with a 300kg animal in a suburban home?”

Santon also thought that it was highly likely, if not inevitable, that the tiger would attack and kill someone. She referred to an incident in which a child, aged 5, was attacked and killed by a pet lion in Limpopo last year.

UNTAMEABLE: Enzo, the three-month-old tiger cub that is Jamison’s new security installation.