While we’re still irked at Animal Planet for the upcoming series about Mike Tyson and pigeon racing, we have to give the network credit for having the good judgment to air the award-winning documentary The Tiger Next Door, which explores the seedy underworld of people who own, breed, and peddle exotic animals.
The movie features Dennis Hill, an Indiana man who once kept dozens of tigers, leopards, bears, and other wild animals confined to filthy, ramshackle cages and pens on his rural property outside Indianapolis.
After years of citations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violations of the Animal Welfare Act—including failing to provide animals with proper shelter, sanitation, feeding, and watering—the agency filed charges against Hill, and his federal license was revoked. The state of Indiana ordered him to relinquish all but three of the big cats. The Tiger Next Door chronicles Hill’s years of buying, breeding, and selling big cats as well as “the curious, ethically murky world” of those who keep exotic pets.