TUTTLE, Okla. - In an undercover investigation into Tuttle’s Tiger Safari, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) alleges mishandling, even abuse, of tiger cubs.
Behind-the-scenes footage is raising serious questions about the treatment of these exotic animals.
The owner of Tiger Safari, Bill Meadows, says he is not abusing his animals and says the HSUS is using the allegations as propaganda. He tells us the video is edited to misrepresent his zoo.
However, the HSUS says their investigation took place from May to September of 2014 and they documented exactly what they witnessed.
The HSUS says the 63-day investigation was centered on a white tiger cub named Maximus. A HSUS employee worked at the park as an intern to capture undercover footage.
The organization claims the cub was taken from his mother too soon after birth and forced to spend hours a day being handled by or photographed with dozens of people.
When Maximus was not cooperating, HSUS claims the cub was smacked, dragged and sometimes suspended by his legs and tail.
“This really was to document, like I said, never before footage of really what happens behind the scenes of these places. What we found was horrific. We knew it was bad, but we had no idea about how bad it actually was,” Nicole Paquette, with HSUS, said.
Meadows told us on the phone that the popping in the nose is to train the cubs not to bite. As for video of him dragging the cub on a leash, Meadows says he did not mean to drag the cub and stopped when he realized what he was doing.
We know the United States Department of Agriculture conducts regular inspections at Tiger Safari. HSUS says they caught Meadows saying this to his employees.
“When the USDA comes out here on Wednesday I’m giving you a fair warning you don’t say a ******* thing to them. Period.”
Meadows tells us he did not want new workers to give out misinformation.
HSUS also claims animals at Tiger Safari do not receive proper care and nutrition, but Meadows invites anyone to visit the zoo. He says visitors will see that the animals are well-cared for.
For the full report of HSUS’s investigation and the full version of the undercover video released to the public visit…
**WARNING explicit language is used in the video.**