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We at The Big Cat Blog share the images we come across on the internet as both a fan of the photographer’s work and as animal lovers with a passion for felines. All images found on this blog remain the property of their respective owners. We lay no claim to any image featured here and receive no financial benefits from their use. We ensure that all images are correctly attributed to their respective owners. If material you own is featured here and you would like it removed or credited differently, you can contact us at thebigcatblog@gmail.com and expect a prompt response.

20 October 11

insomniacdragon said: The state of ohio and the ohio police are at fault.

I can’t say I entirely agree with you. Local law enforcement are not trained for such a situation nor are they usually equipped with tranquilizer darts. According to reports, deputies arrived at the property roughly an hour and a half before nightfall after hearing accounts of escaped animals in the area. They did call in help from Columbus Zoo and the Division of Wildlife, and some animals were tranquilized, though at least one tiger hit with a dart attempted to attack a veterinarian and was subsequently euthanized. Tranquilizing dangerous, panicked animals in the dark is no easy feat. Law enforcement did what they had to in order to protect the public and themselves.

Am I heartbroken that all of those animals were gunned down? Of course! But what frustrates me more is that there was someone who was able to keep their own private menagerie of wildlife in the first place, and Muskingum County Animal Farm is only one of many - Born Free USA is full of information on privately owned exotic animals, including this report on Ohio.

We can speculate all we like on how the situation could have been handled better, but it won’t change what happened to those animals. What we can change is the fate of current and potential privately owned exotic animals in the United States. The following are some suggestions from Born Free:

  • Learn about exotic animal incidents in your state by using their unique, comprehensive online database. Armed with such information, you could approach your local and state lawmakers and encourage them to pursue laws that ban private possession of exotics.
  • Ask your two U.S. senators to pass the “Captive Primate Safety Act,” which prohibits interstate commerce in monkeys, apes and other primates in the exotic “pet” trade.
  • Consider making a donation to the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, where they care for more than 500 macaques, vervets and baboons, many of whom were rescued from the restricted and deprived lives they were leading as household pets.

-

Frequently asked questions.

Tags: answers Ohio
Posted: 4:40 PM
A black leopard, one of six animals rescued from the Muskingum County Animal Farm near Zanesville, Ohio. 
A grizzly bear, three leopards and two monkeys are adjusting to their new homes at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The six surviving animals are being held in an isolated area, away from  the public. It is unclear whether they will ever be placed on public  display. “Right now, they just need a period of quiet,” Doug Warmolts (director of animal care at the zoo) said.
Read more.
Photo: Grahm S. Jones / Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

A black leopard, one of six animals rescued from the Muskingum County Animal Farm near Zanesville, Ohio.

A grizzly bear, three leopards and two monkeys are adjusting to their new homes at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The six surviving animals are being held in an isolated area, away from the public. It is unclear whether they will ever be placed on public display. “Right now, they just need a period of quiet,” Doug Warmolts (director of animal care at the zoo) said.

Read more.

Photo: Grahm S. Jones / Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Posted: 3:47 PM
Tags: Ohio animals
19 October 11

Re: The Ohio Incident

If you want someone to blame, start with the state of Ohio. Something like this should never have been a possibility to begin with. There is no regulation of the sale and ownership of exotic animals in Ohio. Why not contact the Ohio Division of Wildlife and ask them what will be done to prevent this from ever happening again?

Tags: animals Ohio
Posted: 8:47 PM
Eighteen endangered Bengal tigers among 50 animals shot by Ohio policeSheriff’s deputies shot nearly 50 wild animals — including 18 rare  Bengal tigers and 17 lions — in a big-game hunt across the Ohio  countryside Wednesday after the owner of an exotic-animal park threw  their cages open and committed suicide.
Read more.

Eighteen endangered Bengal tigers among 50 animals shot by Ohio police
Sheriff’s deputies shot nearly 50 wild animals — including 18 rare Bengal tigers and 17 lions — in a big-game hunt across the Ohio countryside Wednesday after the owner of an exotic-animal park threw their cages open and committed suicide.

Read more.

13 January 11

afairietale said: I'm glad that you took time to post my comment. While I believe that this debate could go on for years and neither of us would budge on our beliefs. But I just wanted to thank you for putting up a view from Massillon. For most of us here, we are used to being persecuted for having Obie as our mascot. We've had schools yelling at us that we're cruel and heartless for putting a tiger up on a shrine and treating that little tiger cub more important than Santa Clause. We're constantly in the spotlight about how "cruel and heartless" we are from places and people who have never been to Massillon. Who have never experienced a football game, or know our traditions.
I do understand that you want to make sure these beautiful animals are treated fairly. But in Massillon, that little cub is a celebrity, just like the band member who dresses up in the tiger skin (which has just this year been changed to a fake skin, and I promise, every skin we've had was from a cat that died of natural causes). And in the end, that tradition goes back to the turn of the century and nothing that anyone says is going to change it. Massillon is all about tradition and that is the heart, soul and the sign of our town. I've been completely across the country, and people know who we are because of that little cub.
My only request is, that before people say how horrible we are for having a live mascot, come to Massillon. If you can, come for McKinley Week. I am not a football person, actually, I loathe football, something that shouldn't exist in Massillon, but to see that, it's amazing. When you see how much those people love that tiger and the tradition that makes up Massillon, Ohio. I could honestly go on, and do a lot of research, get in touch with the owner of Stump Hill (who I have met) and tell you about my personal experiences, but I don't think that's going to change anything.
The only reason I really say this, is because a lot of Massillonians who saw your article became very, very upset over your comments. To us, insulting that tiny cub, is just as bad as insulting our mother.

I respect that you are able to have this discussion with me without resorting to nastiness. I remain unconvinced. Your response makes me very sad, but I don’t think talking about it further will do anything: you’ve made it clear tradition is more important to you than the issues I’ve raised about animal welfare.

I didn’t insult the cub, I reported a situation that I felt was unfortunate. For me, animal welfare comes before tradition each and every time. For someone to believe otherwise blows my mind - we are going to have to agree to disagree on this, there’s no middle ground.

Our attitudes and values are determined largely by our upbringing and you’ve been heavily influenced by your own community’s culture. Requesting that you disregard that and look at this situation with unbiased eyes was too much to ask.

Tags: Ohio answers
Posted: 5:21 PM

afairietale said: Hey, I just wanted to respond to you about Massillon Ohio and their mascot, Obie. First I would just like to say, don't get me wrong. I am completely against animals being wrongly treated and I agree with the ban in Ohio on exotic animals to keep both people and the animals straight.
But, I have to say, as a proud Massillonian, Obie is the soul and spirit of our town. That tiger is treated better than most of the pets in our town, and some of the people. Not only does everyone love Obie, but we ensure that the current Obie get's the best care possible.
An animal reserve, Stump Hill Farm, that specializes in exotic animals, raises and takes care of Obie. The cub is born in captivity and is raised around professional trainers that specialize in working solely with Obie. I have met the people who take care of the cub and they know everything you possibly could for raising the cub in the best way possible. Along with this, the cub is taken to the elementary schools during McKinley Week (our rival). This isn't just a school spirit thing, the children are also educated about the cub and tigers in general, emphasizing, that while the cub looks cute and cuddly while chewing on a football, it's still a wild animal and needs the best care ever.
On top of this, after the cub is to old to be Obie any more, it is usually sent to a zoo or reserve for the rest of it's life. You, as a cat enthusiast, should realize that after being born in captivity, if released into the wild (as I have seen some say we should do) that the cat would not be able to survive in the least. I believe some of these tigers have been put into a breeding program to help bring up the numbers of the endangered cats.
As for the picture you posted, Obie is only in a cage for the game. The rest of the time, the cub is usually on a leash when being transported, or when in the elementary schools. The rest of the time besides those few hours, the cub is in the reserve.
I am not going against the new law. I do believe that these beautiful creatures must be protected. But this beautiful creature is treated just as well or better than the creatures in zoos, reserves and will live much longer than it will in the wild.
If you would be so kind to post this on your blog so that the people who are bad talking about how horrible it is that Massillon has taken beautiful animals and given them a better life than most would have received otherwise will now at least be informed on the issue.
Thank you for you time, and please, continue to work towards saving these beautiful creatures. You have much of my respect.

Thank you for your message. I certainly appreciate hearing the perspective of someone from the Massillon community,  but you will never convince me that live mascots are the way to go, especially in this instance. Let me tell me you why. I’ll try to keep this brief.

An animal reserve, Stump Hill Farm, that specializes in exotic animals, raises and takes care of Obie.

The facility you site that is responsible for breeding the tigers leased out as “Obies” is a roadside zoo. And not by any means a good one. The following is an excerpt from Born Free USA's Exotic Pets Report:

Stump Hill Farm in Ohio is open to the public by appointment and hires out its animals for events. It has been cited by the USDA on a number of occasions over the years for failing to provide minimal standards of care for its animals, including a failure to provide environmental enrichment to a chimpanzee, a spider monkey, and a lemur housed on their own; failure to provide minimum space to a chimpanzee housed on his own; failure to provide veterinary care; and failure to provide drinking water. About 270–300 animals were housed at this facility, including wolves, bears, big cats, and primates.

Many of the bear pens were extremely small and the bears were severely constrained. The floors were covered in wood shavings but no structures or enrichment items were visible (apart from an empty plastic oil drum in one pen). The roofs were low and opaque, which made the pens dark and cramped. Stereotypical behavior, including pacing and swaying, was displayed by a number of the animals. Small, makeshift wooden huts appeared to be the only form of shelter. Water was provided in a bowl, with none to bathe in and no trees or branches for the animals to scratch.

A number of big cats were kept in pens similar to those housing the bears.
The animals’ movements were severely restricted by the small pens. The
pens were barren. Two panthers housed together had a cable spool as
“enrichment” and a small plastic hut as shelter. Two white tigers were
kept together in a barren pen. One of the tigers repeatedly paced inside.
Another tiger was also seen pacing inside her small enclosure. Like
the bears, the big cats did not appear to be provided with any wooden
structures to scratch or water in which to bathe. (See above photo)

The cub is born in captivity and is raised around professional trainers that specialize in working solely with Obie.

I am aware that the Obies are captive bred but I do not agree with the manner in which they are raised. Being removed form mothers at such a young age - do you really think that is ideal? Besides the points raised above in regard to the condition of the facility, there are other things that I find extremely problematic in how young tigers are treated at Stump Hill Farm. Genuine sanctuaries DO NOT breed and sell exotic animals, and DO NOT treat infant tigers, lions, etc. as human playthings.

Tiger cubs at Stump Hill Farm are taken from their mothers at an extremely young age and to entertain the idea that an animal who would normally spend upwards of two years by its mother’s side enjoys being removed from her and paraded around a football field is ridiculous. According to this report, “Stump Hill Farm leased a 1-month-old, 8-pound tiger cub to the school to serve as a “mascot” for the basketball team. The cub was still nursing, his vision was not fully developed, and his movements were uncoordinated. He was hauled around to sporting and alumni events and television studios.” That is disgusting, plain and simple. According to the same report, “Stump Hill leased a declawed tiger cub to the Massillon High School’s football team to serve as a “mascot.” The tiger attacked and injured a dog and spent months stored in a garage.” Not good.

Let’s talk about declawing. Take a look a this diagram to see what that involves - it’s a debilitating and painful operation that effectively removes the top “knuckle” of each toe. They may also be de-fanged, which can result in a broken jaw. (Source)

Along with this, the cub is taken to the elementary schools during McKinley Week (our rival). This isn’t just a school spirit thing, the children are also educated about the cub and tigers in general, emphasizing, that while the cub looks cute and cuddly while chewing on a football, it’s still a wild animal and needs the best care ever.

Yeah, this is not good. Of course I am all for education and fully support teaching children about animals and conservation, but I don’t think this is the way to do it at all. As you point out, it’s still a wild animal. A school is no place for a wild animal. No real sanctuary with interests in conservation or animal welfare would do something like that.

On top of this, after the cub is to old to be Obie any more, it is usually sent to a zoo or reserve for the rest of it’s life.

Like Stump Hill Farm? Because I’m not their biggest fans, plus they appear to be home to only three former Obies. Where are the rest? Seriously, I want to know. At best, sold to another zoo, at worst we’d be talking canned hunting. And I would never suggest that a hand reared tiger be released into the wild.

I am not going against the new law. I do believe that these beautiful creatures must be protected. But this beautiful creature is treated just as well or better than the creatures in zoos, reserves and will live much longer than it will in the wild.

From what I can tell from Stump Hill Farms numerous citations, that is simply not the case. You can read more detail on those here. Records on what actually happens to most of the Obies don’t seem to exist either, so I have no idea if they really get to live a long life or not.

As for the picture you posted, Obie is only in a cage for the game.

It’s still unacceptable from an animal welfare point of view. I don’t really know how else to put that.

Again, I appreciate your message, and I hope that neither yourself nor other people of Massillon feel personally attacked by my reporting of a relevant big cat news item. Your high school is not the only institution that uses live mascots - but with Ohio exotic pet laws currently in the news, it is the one that gets talked about right now. I want to be clear that I am not here to demonize your community.

I understand that you like your tiger. Tigers are cool! I get that. But I will NEVER see the appeal of live mascots. Ever. I can see that you are an animal lover who honestly believes that this is an acceptable practice. I ask that you take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

If you still see nothing at all wrong, then I don’t know what to say.

Tags: answers Ohio
12 January 11
Unfortunately, the ban will not affect the practice of using a live tiger cub as a team mascot at Massillon Washington High School in Ohio.
More on live mascots.

Unfortunately, the ban will not affect the practice of using a live tiger cub as a team mascot at Massillon Washington High School in Ohio.

More on live mascots.

Posted: 7:44 PM
Ohio Bans Exotic PetsIn Ohio, people who already own exotic animals will have to register  them with the state each year, making it easier for law enforcement to  monitor the animals.
What can you do if your state doesn’t have a ban (click here to check)? Just make sure that  you’re not inadvertently supporting the captivity of poorly treated wild  animals. Never patronize roadside petting zoos, traveling animal shows  and, particularly, “take a picture with a tiger” exhibits.
More.
Photo by: crowolf

Ohio Bans Exotic Pets
In Ohio, people who already own exotic animals will have to register them with the state each year, making it easier for law enforcement to monitor the animals.

What can you do if your state doesn’t have a ban (click here to check)? Just make sure that you’re not inadvertently supporting the captivity of poorly treated wild animals. Never patronize roadside petting zoos, traveling animal shows and, particularly, “take a picture with a tiger” exhibits.

More.

Photo by: crowolf

13 July 10
Themed by Hunson. Originally by Josh