Petition urges state authorities to take control of Tiger Ridge Exotics, 'protect animals from owner'

Petition urges state authorities to take control of Tiger Ridge Exotics, 'protect animals from owner'

After Tiger Ridge Exotics owner Kenny Hetrick threatened to euthanize all of his exotic animals because he cannot afford to make changes required by a new state law, a new petition is demanding Ohio immediately secure the facility and protect the animals from their owner.

The

went viral, gathering more than 30,000 signatures in less than a day.

Hetrick keeps an endangered black leopard, six endangered tigers, two lions, a brown bear, a liger (lion and tiger hybrid) and a bobcat on his property. Care2 petition author Amanda Whelan was shocked by news reports in which

to be relocated to licensed sanctuaries.

"They're going to have to come in here and put a gun to my head, that is the only way they are going to get them," said Hetrick.

This spurred Whelan to start her petition, which she plans to deliver to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Hetrick started an online GoFundMe page in an attempt to raise money for an attorney to fight the new laws requiring upgrades and license. Read more about Tiger Ridge here.

Whelan is an advocate for exotic animal reform from the San Francisco Bay Area and learned about Hetrick's tigers when researching the Massillon Washington High School football program, where his tigers originate. The school's football booster club provides a tiger cub to the team each year; the tiger sits on the sidelines for each home football game. Whelan has a separate petition asking the high school to end this program.

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