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Yahoo! News - Tiger, Alligator Found in N.Y. Apartment
Tiger, Alligator Found in N.Y. Apartment
Sunday, October 05,2003

NEW YORK - A tiger and an alligator found in a Manhattan apartment were sent to an Ohio wildlife preserve Sunday while their owner recovered from bite wounds inflicted by the more than 400-pound cat.


Police said Antoine Yates, 31, would face reckless endangerment charges after he gets out of a hospital in Philadelphia, where he fled. He was listed in good condition.

A team of animal control officers, police and Bronx Zoo workers removed the animals from Yates' fifth-floor apartment in a Harlem housing project on Saturday.

Wes Artope, director of the city's animal shelters, said the tiger, an orange and white Siberian-Bengal mix, had been kept in the apartment since he was a 6-week-old cub. The 20-month-old tiger now weighs at least 425 pounds, Artope said.

"He's huge," Artope said.

The tiger and the 5-foot-long alligator, both in good condition, were taken first to a local shelter, then to a Long Island animal sanctuary and then to Ohio, Artope said.

"Clearly this tiger should not have been in any place in New York City outside of a zoo," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters Sunday.

Yates was taken into custody Saturday night at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, where he was being treated for lacerations to his leg, police said.

Authorities believe he went to Philadelphia after checking out of a New York hospital on Friday with bites to his arm and leg.

Officers first responded to a call on Wednesday that Yates had been bitten by a dog, but police said they later received two anonymous calls saying Yates had actually been bitten by a large wild animal.

Residents at his apartment building told responding officers that they had seen the tiger.

Authorities used a camera to monitor the animals in the apartment before shooting them with tranquilizer darts.