Woman Who Offered Pig as Tiger Bait Faces Charge

Woman Who Offered Pig as Tiger Bait Faces Charge

MIAMI (Reuters) - A Florida woman who offered up a Yorkshire pig as bait to entice an escaped tiger back home will face charges of animal cruelty, local newspapers reported on Thursday.

Linda Meredith, of Loxahatchee where "Bobo" the tiger was killed by wildlife officers on Tuesday in a shooting his owner labeled a "murder," is being punished for putting the piglet in a car trunk, an official told the Palm Beach Post.

"I was appalled," said Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control Director Diane Sauve. "Carrying an animal in a trunk in 90-degree (32 degrees Celsius) heat, where it's probably 140 degrees (60 degrees Celsius) inside, is not acceptable."

Meredith had urged sheriff's deputies to hold the piglet by its hind legs or twist its ears to make it squeal and attract Bobo, who spent 24 hours as a fugitive after escaping from former B movie Tarzan actor Steve Sipek's home, 50 miles north of Miami. The deputies declined to use the pig.

Meredith said she also was outraged to find out she could face animal cruelty charges.

"I can't believe they have the gall," she told the Palm Beach Post. "I was just trying to help the tiger find his way back home. Apparently, it's not nice to be nice."

Meredith said that the trunk of her Cadillac was air conditioned and that she had planned to eat the pig anyway once it had grown up.

Wildlife officers had hoped to shoot Bobo, a 600-pound (270-kg), six-year-old Bengal tiger, with tranquilizer darts to end his dash for freedom. But he was killed by an officer armed with an M4 rifle after he said the big cat lunged at him.

Sipek, who played Tarzan in two movies in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and who has a permit to keep exotic animals as pets, decried the shooting as unnecessary. Covered in the blood of the cat he raised since it was a cub, Sipek has given a string of TV interviews saying Bobo's death was plain murder.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been inundated with hate mail and phone calls from distraught cat lovers, and supporters have set up a Web site to collect donations to help Sipek protect his other animals -- another tiger, two lions, a black leopard and a cougar.

Neither Sauve nor Meredith could be reached for comment.

Copyright © 2003 Reuters Limited.


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