Federal officials seized ten big cats from Chris McDonald’s Marion County farm Friday. They loaded a semi truck and a van with lions, tigers and leopards and removed them from the property.
Last month a tiger escaped from McDonald’s farm and had to be killed. At that time, the USDA seized some of McDonald’s tigers because they appeared to be malnourished.
Marion County Sheriff Lee Becker says the rest of the cats were confiscated after McDonald failed to meet USDA guidelines. The USDA told McDonald he needed to set up a perimeter fence to keep the animals for public safety. He says he purchased materials to build the fence, but did not complete it by the USDA’s deadline.
McDonald says Friday’s seizure was illegal. He says he wants to get the cats back and plans to file an injunction with the Marion County court.
The animals have been taken to a sanctuary out of state. Sheriff Becker says the removal of the big cats will hopefully make nearby residents feel safer.