Big cats and common sense
Steve Sipek can keep his exotic cats for the next year, as far as state officials are concerned.Amusing side note- Shortly after Bobo's death, my wife got a phone call at her work. Someone wanted to have a Catholic memorial service for Bobo!
Captive-wildlife inspectors this week renewed Sipek's commercial license to exhibit his two tigers, a lion and a leopard about a month after an inspection at Sipek's Loxahatchee compound.
Sipek, who gained worldwide notoriety two years ago after the highly publicized death of his escaped pet tiger Bobo, got two tiger cubs last year but was allowed to have them only if he obtained a commercial license from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
That license requires Sipek to maintain a commercial enterprise and keep a log of visitors to his compound on C Road.
Several hundred people visited the animals between July 2005 and early 2006, according to an inspection report.
But federal officials have denied Sipek a license to legally exhibit the exotic cats because the facility failed to meet the standards of the Animal Welfare Act. Sipek is the subject on an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, according to spokeswoman Karen Eggert. She could not comment on the investigation but said the agency's focus is on the treatment of the animals.
Federal inspectors denied Sipek a permit because he had no veterinary staff and because of problems with wiring on some cages, Sipek said.
The state says its ok but the federal government doesn't. The Sun-Sentinel editorialized.
How many red flags do you need?I agree with the Sun-Sentinel, Sipek should be closed down. These animals are dangerous and wild, not pet like as portrayed in movies like Born Free. I have never favored privated persons owning these animals. Click here and here for examples.
Let's get this straight. One of Steve Sipek's tigers once mauled a woman painting his cage, then two years later escaped his pen and was shot dead by a state wildlife officer fearing for his life. Now Sipek's Loxahatchee compound -- home to four more big cats -- is being investigated for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act.
With that probe still pending, Florida officials are nonetheless letting him keep the state license he needs to house the cats, but only if he keeps them on public display. So, despite the potential for harm, especially if the feds find the animals are being mistreated or housed unsafely, the state isn't keeping people away; it's actually making Sipek bring them on the property.
It makes about as much sense as allowing private citizens to house exotic cats in their homes to begin with. And it's about time the practice ends. The federal government must do what the state refuses to and put Sipek out of this crazy business.
Mark my words, it will take a tragedy before anything is done about it. Are the bureaucrats then going to say sorry to the dead person's family?
Open Post- Pursuing Holiness, Bullwinkle Blog,