Notorious Tiger Exhibitor Under Fire for Potentially Exposing Public to Ringworm

PETA Alerts Public to Highly Contagious and Recurring Disease Apparently Found at T.I.G.E.R.S., With No Veterinary Plan to Treat It

For Immediate Release:
April 20, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.)—a Myrtle Beach animal exhibitor that PETA has tracked for years—has been caught in violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report that just became publically available, young tigers at the facility were found to have apparent ringworm lesions on their paws—and T.I.G.E.R.S. did not have an approved veterinary plan for treating the condition or a plan for limiting infected animals’ contact with the public. Ringworm, a highly contagious disease that can be transmitted between animals and humans, has apparently been found before at T.I.G.E.R.S., where tiger cubs are routinely used for photo ops with members of the public, including children.

“Anyone who gets their photo taken with a tiger cub at T.I.G.E.R.S. may be at risk of contracting a nasty fungus,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “This scofflaw facility apparently cares more about turning a profit than providing animals with a proper veterinary care plan or protecting the public, which is exactly why PETA is urging families to stay away.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that T.I.G.E.R.S. breeds baby tigers and other exotic animals, separates them from their mothers shortly after birth, places them in the hands of the public as a tourist attraction, and sends them out of the country for movie shoots.

T.I.G.E.R.S. owner Bhagavan Antle’s previous AWA violations include citations for confining dozens of adult tigers to  enclosures that weren’t secure and exhibiting animals in unsafe conditions. In 2010, a 700-pound tiger escaped into a group of visitors, and in 2012, big cats were restrained only with a short leash held by an exhibitor, with nothing but a 3- to 4-foot wooden fence between them and the audience.

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