Sunday, October 10, 2010

500lb tiger kept as pet....

Pictured: The 500lb tiger encountered by police after they were called to a tiny high-rise flat 

Last updated at 1:47 PM on 9th October 2010

This is the deadly 500lb tiger kept as a pet in a tiny apartment just moments after attacking its owner.
Antoine Yates was mauled by Ming, the tiger he brought up in his cramped apartment in a tower block in Harlem, New York, in 2003.
Terrified police then had to launch a careful rescue programme - with a brave officer eventually lowered down the side of his high rise so he could fire a tranquilizer into the amazing beast.
Enlarge The size of the extraordinary animal is clear from images of the miniscule room where he lived
The size of the extraordinary animal is clear from images of the miniscule room where he lived
Enlarge Antoine Yates claims to have had an 'unbelievable' relationship with his unorthodox pet Ming
Antoine Yates claims to have had an 'unbelievable' relationship with his unorthodox pet Ming
Ming was removed safely and is now in an animal reserve in Ohio while Antoine, who showed off photos of wild animals he collected from a young child, was jailed for six months for endangerment.
Police were alerted to go to the 21-storey block after Antoine checked into hospital with bites he said were caused by a pit bull.
When they arrived at the scene, they found a three-to-five-foot-long (1-1.5m) caiman alligator as well.
Detective Martin Duffy relived for a US TV documentary on the event how the tiger was initially peaceful - but then charged at him.
"All I saw was his giant head with a mouthful of giant teeth coming at me," he recalled.
"That's when I was like, 'All right, I'm going to be eaten by a tiger'," he told Animal Planet's Fatal Attraction show.
Ming's owner Antoine told the show that he loved having pets from a young age.
"What attracted me to animals was the peace, the peace of being with them. Everything is unconditional - you love them and they love you back."
Antoine claimed the "hell on earth" environment of Harlem encouraged his passion to stay inside with his pets, away from the dangers outside.
"One of my first exotic animals was a squirrel monkey - then I started getting into boa constrictors and pythons," he added.
His family had planned to open a zoo, he says - so he ended up pretending they already had one to con his way into owning two tigers and two lions.
He ended up getting rid of three of them - but was too attached to Ming to let it go.
"My relationship with Ming was very, very unique," he insisted. "We had a bond that was unbelievable."
Ming grew to be a 500lbs adult tiger -  but this wild beast had never left Antoine's small apartment in the Harlem high rise while his owner chose to remain with the jungle cat.
"To be close to such a beautiful animal 24 hours a day is magical. I began to really understand a big cat," he claimed.
"At that point I was ready to disconnect from the world."
Their dangerous relationship emerged when Antoine's brother Aaron visited and was stunned to meet the feline resident.
"All I see is one eye almost the size of a pool ball. I jumped back and shouted, 'Yo what you doing man!'," Aaron recalled.
"[Antoine] said, 'I told you, man, this is serious'. I said, 'No, man, this is beyond serious - this is crazy."
In 2003 it was Aaron who found Antoine after Ming's attack, saying he saw him "on the floor, shaking, like he was going into shock".
He rushed him to hospital - but they were both too terrified to admit what had happened. "We said he was bitten by a dog," Aaron admitted.
But a neighbour tipped off the police, who initially knocked a hole through the wall to see what they were dealing with.

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