Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
Frito posted on Facebook about this documentary last night, and I of course flipped over to Animal Planet, recorded it on my DVR and I’m not sure if anything has made me this angry in awhile.
Here’s the show in a nutshell, a convicted felon and former meth-addict has 20 plus tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, and bears on his property in rural Indiana. Some of his neighbors, the ones with common sense, called the authorities on him and wanted him to lose custody of all his animals. So, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources comes out and investigates, and takes all but 3 of his exotics. We get to hear this guy Dennis’s sob story, of how he had a construction contracting business, made a ton of money and after buying all the yachts, jet skis, cars and motorcycles he could, he started collecting big cats and “fell in love” with them. Then like all things that come easy, Dennis loses everything, gets divorced, and is poor, but still in possession of exotic animals. He gets involved with drugs and crime, goes to jail, gets out and some how still has his beloved tigers. Lucky for his neighbors he loses all but 3, and those poor things, if they’re still alive, will have to be euthanized when he dies.
During the show, he admits to breeding and selling the tigers. Normal orange tigers can bring as much a $2500, and the rare white tigers can pull upwards of $15,000 (he admitted to having breeding stock to get more albino tigers than normal healthy orange cats.) During the show, we also get to see these great apex predators living in small, chain link fence enclosures, being fed 25 pound blocks of frozen meat, and this idiot Dennis stepping in to the cages trying to hug and handle the less aggressive cats. Even one of the tag lines of the show was, “It’s estimated that there are more Tigers in captivity in private homes in America, than there are in the wild!”
Here’s why this $^*# pissed me off!!!
First of all, Tigers, Lions, Bears and other exotic predators are NOT PETS. Here’s a history lesson folks. Dogs, cats, some livestock, and to an extent some raptors can be trained and domesticated to work and live with people. But don’t for a second ever think your cat or dog loves you. Dogs are great, cats are meh, but if you died alone in your home tomorrow, and no one found your body, as soon as your terrier Fido or Sox the kitty got hungry, they would be digging into the soft tissues on your corpse for a meal and that’s the truth. Ancient man domesticated cats and dogs for practical purposes, you don’t think a hunter gatherer is going to actively look for more mouths to feed? Our ancestors didn’t see a wild dog, and say “OOOOOH How Cute!” They saw that the dogs ate rodents, bugs, and barked and made noise when others approached, worked as a team to ward off lions, and once ancient man domesticated the first dog, we’ve been training them to help us with everything from hunting, to guarding our children, helping us in agriculture, warfare, and even healthcare and more. One thing that dogs don’t have that all Big Cats do? Dogs don’t have a genetic history of seeing people as PREY! Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Jaguars, Cougars, and the other big cats are descended from the Smilodons or Saber Toothed Cats of the Ice Age, those big saber teeth were specifically evolved to sever the spine or puncture the cranial bones of large primates. Genetically speaking, those big cats are pre-disposed to kill and eat us, don’t believe me, go ask Roy Horn. So don’t tell me for a second, your exotic predator “pet loves you” and would never harm you “on purpose”. Your Lion or Tiger merely tolerates you, because you feed him.
Secondly, if you truly are trying to conserve the species, build these animals a preserve in Asia, or even domestically if you can’t afford the real estate in Asia. Tigers naturally roam expanses of 250 square miles or more, and are solitary animals. Cramming 2 or more into 12 by 20 foot cages is horrible, and you might as well take as much genetic material from the animals, then destroy them if you’re going to force them into any enclosure measured in feet rather than acres. Zoos are moving to more natural environments, and if you’re a private owner, then you should have each animal gps/radio transmitter microchipped and build a proper fence to enclose hundreds of acres for it to act naturally.
Finally, that Dennis guy in Indiana, should be forced to live in an 8×6 foot cell, in his own filth, eating frozen blocks of spam, and drinking tepid waste water for what he’s subjected those cats to for over 20 years. Or better yet, let the remaining 3 tigers lose from their enclosures, and see how long he can last baby talking them in an open pasture with no stick or prod in his hand.
I’m sure this will anger some of you animal lovers, or PETA or SPCA types, but if you ran a puppy mill like this guy ran his tiger mill, they’d have you in prison faster than Michael Vick. Research Universities, Zoos, and even private rescue preserves that have enclosures to mimic their natural habitats, are in my opinion the only institutions that should have stewardship of the large cats or other large predators. Private owners should be outlawed across the world, remember what happened in Ohio just a few weeks ago? Tigers are majestic and beautiful animals, but should be left in the wild. They are not and Never will be PETS.
Oh, and IF you disagree with me? YOU’RE WRONG!!! feel free to email me your thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org