WOOD COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - It took four hours using a mediator but the owner of Tiger Ridge Exotic will get to visit his big cats.
Kenny Hetrick was fighting the Ohio Department of Agriculture for visitation rights to see the four big cats the state took from his property.
The two parties were set to go before the judge Wednesday at the Sixth District Court of Appeals, but instead took four hours to come to a settlement using a mediator.
"We made a little progress here today," Hetrick said. "Better than it was, we weren't even allowed to go down there on their property down there. Now we got visitation rights to go down there and see them and check them so that's a plus."
The settlement states Kenny could get to go see his big cats on May 22.
He'll go down to Florida with his veterinarian and attorney to check the condition of the four big cats. He will not be able to take any photos when he sees the animals or bring in his cell phone.
"What they're going to do is feed them when we get there so that way when we get there they'll come up to the food where we can get a better look at them," Hetrick said.
Wednesday was a win for Tiger Ridge. But they still have a long road ahead.
"We're in the [Wood County] Sixth Court of Appeals for the permit hearings," said Corrina Dankert, daughter of Kenny Hetrick. "So we're waiting on oral arguments and that's already in the process. That's up next."
In the settlement if the veterinarian that goes down with Hetrick does not believe he got a close enough look at the animals they will agree to a second visit for him to get a better look.