By: Dave Croft
I think the documentary Tiger King, by focusing on people like Doc Antle, Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin, has skewed the public’s perception of tiger owners. Most of us are hard working, rational members of the community that just happen to want to live with 500 pound apex predators.
If drivers are careless or reckless they could kill people. Does that mean we should ban all cars? Of course not. But just because a couple of owners participated in large scale wildlife trafficking and animal cruelty, all of a sudden people want to deprive a tiger of the opportunity to live in my tiny back yard. Sorry to so aggressively deploy the socratic method but I get my hackles up when I think someone might take away my precious Sumatran tiger Belinda.
I am a loving, caring big cat owner. Belinda gets lots of exercise when I take her to the off leash area at the dog park and lots of mental stimulation when she babysits my small children. I realize as a Tiger Prince (tiger king is gauche) I also have responsibility to my community, which is why when Belinda bit someone’s arm off I settled the lawsuit quickly. No legal shenanigans here!
Unlike Joe Exotic I would never breed tiger cubs for profit. I always give away my tiger cubs for free – sometimes I even lose money. But I’m willing to make that sacrifice as long as those precious animals end up in the right place, like the ‘tiger coop’ I made from a kiddie pool and chicken wire.
I think we can all agree that the thing that was so upsetting about Joe Exotic was his libertarian beliefs. I can assure you that I’m going to continue to advocate for social safety nets and government regulation, except of course laws that would prevent an endangered species from being used as status symbols for Ed Hardy wearing drug dealers.
All I ask is that you don’t judge me on a documentary, that you take the time to get to know me and my menagerie of exotic animals. But don’t go near my tiger Belinda, the expired hot dogs I feed her no longer sate her hunger for flesh.
Also unlike Carol Baskin my missing husband has been found and I have been cleared of all charges.