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UPDATE: Exotic animal farm owner says he had to shoot tiger[West Virginia]
Daily Mail Capitol ^ | 02 Dec 2008 | Justin D. Anderson

Posted on 12/03/2008 1:36:27 PM PST by BGHater

The owner of an escaped tiger in Pocahontas County said the animal ambushedf him in snow-filled woods so he had to shoot it dead.

David Cassell and a state conservation officer had been looking for the female tiger since Saturday evening, when Cassell noticed it squeezed through a hole in a chain-link cage on his exotic animal farm, said Hoy Murphy, spokesman for the state Division of Natural Resources.

There was apparently more than one tiger in the cage, but only one escaped.

The DNR is investigating the incident and could end up charging the owner, Cassell, because the exotic animal escaped, said Murphy said.

About 11 a.m. Monday, off-duty snowmakers from Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort were out on snowmobiles taking pictures about six miles away from the resort when they spotted the tiger, Murphy said. They reported the sighting to Pocahontas County dispatchers.

Conservation officer Howard Shinaberry was notified and he met with Larry Holson, Snowshoe's security chief. They called Cassell, who arrived later to help search for the tiger.

The three men and two other employees of Snowshoe set off in trail grooming machines to look for the tiger. Murphy said they picked up the tiger's trail in the snow and followed it down a road in the Monongahela National Forest.

"They saw where the cat had entered the brush off the side of the road," Murphy said. "Mr. Cassell got out and began tracking the cat into the brush."

One of the searchers went with Cassell while the others continued down the road in case the tiger emerged from the brush further on.

When they returned, they met with the searcher who had accompanied Cassell. That searcher said that Cassell had shot the tiger and was dragging it back to the road, Murphy said, citing Shinaberry's report.

Cassell emerged from the brush dragging the tiger. He told the others that the snow was laying heavy on the trees in the woods and he was only able to see three or four feet in front of him, Murphy said. Cassell said the cat had been lying under some low-hanging trees when it jumped at him.

That's when he shot it.

Murphy did not know what kind of weapon Cassell used, nor did he know details about the size or species of the tiger.

Lt. Col. Jerry Jenkins with the DNR told The Associated Press that those who'd gone out hunting the tiger had intended to tranquilize it, not kill it.

Cassell, who works at Snowshoe, also had a 400 pound Asian brown bear escaped in May 2006. The bear hasn't been seen since, according to The AP.

Murphy said Cassell reported feeding the tigers about 3 p.m. Saturday. When he went back to check on them later in the day, he noticed one had escaped.

Cassell and Shinaberry looked for the tiger for the rest of the evening until darkness fell, Murphy said.

TOPICS: Outdoors; Pets/Animals
KEYWORDS: animal; tiger; westvirginia; wva
There still is a 400lb Asian Brown bear loose in the woods.

Well, it has not been 'reported' found.

1 posted on 12/03/2008 1:36:27 PM PST by BGHater
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