From: Reuters
Published September 21, 2004 12:00 AM

New York Judge Jails "Dangerous" Tiger Owner

NEW YORK — A New York tiger owner was jailed recently for keeping his wild feline in his Harlem apartment by a judge who said he was too dangerous to be on the street.

In an unusual move, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Budd Goodman ordered Antoine Yates, 37, jailed without his lawyer present instead of delaying the hearing until his lawyer could attend. The lawyer was unable to make it to court because of a conflict with another case.

Yates, who will be jailed until he is formally sentenced on Oct. 7, had been free on bail since his arrest last year, when the 400-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger called Ming was found in his seven-room apartment in October.

Goodman said he decided to jail Yates after reviewing his pre-sentence probation report and finding some "disturbing information" regarding Yates' attitude.

Goodman referred to Yates' "inability to tell the truth" and "his delusional fixation that he has a special gift for dealing with wild animals that others can not comprehend."

The judge also cited a probation report saying Yates showed "a lack of remorse" over keeping the tiger in the apartment and said "he could represent a danger to the community."

In July, Yates pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless endangerment. The judge indicated at the time that Yates would probably receive a jail sentence of no more than six months and that probation was possible.

Ming was shipped to an animal refuge in Ohio, but Yates says he hopes to get his tiger back and plans to open an animal sanctuary in upstate New York, toward which he says he has already raised $7,000.

Source: Reuters

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