2 tigers found in backyard at Valley homes, taken to rehab facility

PHOENIX - What would you do if you found a tiger in your neighbor's backyard?

Authorities say they are looking into how two tigers ended up in Valley neighborhoods.

The young tigers -- one orange, one white -- were both found tied up in the backyards of two Arizona homes, said the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The tigers have since been moved to a licensed rehab facility.


Officials believe the two cubs are from the same litter that may have come from Wisconsin, said Jim Paxon, AFGD Information Branch Chief.

The investigation began after the AFGD received an report on Dec. 27 indicating that a man had allegedly posted pictures of the tigers online. Photos showed the tigers at the unnamed suspect's business, as well as at two residences.

Authorities found an orange tiger on Dec. 31 at a home in Phoenix after receiving an anonymous tip, said Paxon. The occupant of the home told crews the tigers were from Wisconsin. He also told officials the orange tiger was allegedly scheduled to be moved to a ranch in Prescott, Ariz.

The white tiger was found tied by a rope in the backyard of a home in Gilbert on Friday.

When officials asked for proof of ownership regarding the animals, a veterinary certification out of Texas was delivered by a third party, said Paxon.

Officials said the suspect has been unwilling to contact AFGD, however, the investigation is ongoing. No citations have been issued.

Tigers, among other carnivores, are illegal to possess in Arizona without special permits from the AGFD.

"Even though they think they're pets and they're friendly, and there's not going to be any problems, they're unpredictable. They're still wild animals, even though they've been raised in a domestic setting," said Randy Babbs, a biologist with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Both of the tigers were transferred to the Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, Ariz. Tuesday afternoon.

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