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Taking Tiger Into Bar a Bad Idea, Says Animal Welfare Group

Keeping a wild animal as a pet is "immeasurably cruel," according to a statement released by an animal welfare group in the wake of a Lockport man getting hit with criminal charges for allegedly taking a tiger with him to a bar.

This may be the tiger that Big Run Wolf Ranch owner John Basile brought to a bar. | Courtesy of Carrie Soukup Mitcheff
This may be the tiger that Big Run Wolf Ranch owner John Basile brought to a bar. | Courtesy of Carrie Soukup Mitcheff
A group dedicated to animal welfare and wildlife conservation heard about a Lockport man allegedly taking his tiger into a Ninth Street bar and its leadership disapproves.

"Being someone’s pet is immeasurably cruel to wild animals," Adam Roberts, the chief executive officer for the group Born Free USA, said in a statement that cited the criminal charges filed earlier this week against 56-year-old John Basile.

"These so-called ‘pets’ endure miserable conditions in captivity—they are usually locked up in cages in a home or backyard, isolated, and deprived of the ability to express their natural behaviors," the statement said. "Some private owners often extract their teeth and fingernails, among other barbaric practices, in an attempt to ‘tame’ them. Wild animals belong in the wild and can never be tamed. They are ticking time bombs and should not be confined as a pet.”

Basile "brought a tiger restrained only by a leash and unmuzzled into a bar open to the public with patrons inside" on Feb. 16, according to a criminal complaint filed in Will County court.

The tiger "endangered the safety" of a woman in the bar, according to the complaint.

Another woman contacted Patch and said Basil's Siberian tiger, Shere Khan, bit her arm during a Dec. 14 Christmas party at the same bar. The woman said she alerted police after reading a Patch story about the criminal charges against Basile and gave officers a written statement. No additional charges have been filed against Basile.

Basile owns  Big Run Wolf Ranch, a "federally licensed non-profit educational facility specializing in North American wildlife," according to the Ranch's website.

In addition to the tiger, the site said eight wolves, a black bear, a cougar, a skunk, a woodchuck, three coyotes, two porcupines and a horse live at the ranch.

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kelly March 02, 2014 at 02:17 PM
OMG, People its a BABY tiger." Endangering Safety" seem a bit excessive. My cat could probably do more damage. We have been to the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells and they have baby tigers you can pet and fee and get your picture taken with. I guess I don't see what the big deal is, He is a trained handler after all and runs the animal rehab ranch.

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