The Tiger Next Door, a documentary film about white tigers in captivity in the US

The Tiger Next Door


In the United States, pets are considered property in the eyes of the law.
And one of the most hotly defended rights of the individual is the right to own anything,
no matter how stupid or dangerous the choice — even when what someone wants to own is
a threat to them, their family, and the community around them.”
- Randall Lockwood, ASPCA

In mid October, 2011 over 50 captive bred exotic animals including tigers, lions, leopards, bears, wolves and monkeys were released by their owner before he took his own life.  Many of these animals had only a few hours of terrifying freedom before being shot to death.  We can only hope that this event will catalyze Ohio –and the Federal Government– to ban private ownership of exotic animals AND shut down exotic animal auctions.

Zanesville Animal Massacre Included 18 Rare Bengal Tigers

Dangerous Wild Animals Escape


The following is a list of some of the captive wild animal attacks that have occurred in the U.S. and Canada over the last ten years. This list is by no means comprehensive and does not include instances of tiger escapes, dead tiger bodies found, or incidence of animal cruelty towards tigers or other captive wild animals. (N.B. Many people who are injured by their own animals do not report the attack, for fear that the animal will be destroyed by local authorities in order to perform a test for rabies.)



Orlando, FLORIDA  February 26. 2010

12,000 lb Orca whale called Tilikum (Tilly) mauls and kills his trainer Dawn Brancheau at Sea World during a performance.


Southwold, Ontario  CANADA  January 11, 2010
Norman Buwalda (age 66) was attacked and killed by his 650lb “pet” tiger when he entered the cage to feed it.


Saylorsburg, PENNSYLVANIA October 5, 2009

A woman is attacked and killed by a black bear she had kept as a pet for nine years. Kelly Ann Walz was cleaning the cage where she kept 350-pound Teddy on Sunday night when the bear turned on her and attacked.

East Liverpool, PENNSYLVANIA May 25, 2009

An 11 year old girl in Columbiana County is flown by helicopter ambulance to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh after being mauled by a pet mountain lion.

Calhan, COLORADO April 24, 2009

A volunteer was bitten by a tiger at “Big Cats of Serenity Springs.”


Frederick, MARYLAND January 18, 2009

A 32-year-old woman named Deborah Gregory was attacked by a jaguar at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo.”


Luray, VIRGINIA November 16, 2008

A 15 year old lost her finger to a 5 year old tiger named Star at the Luray Zoo.


Broken Arrow, OKLAHOMA October 29, 2008

A man was mauled to death by tiger at Safari’s Interactive Animal when he walked into the cage while feeding the cat a deer carcass.  The mauling happened in the presence of more than 40 pre-schoolers who were ushered away from the scene.


Richmond Township, ILLINOIS August 5, 2008

Man bitten by tiger while training for circus act. Larry Dean said he was practicing a circus act at the Hawthorn Corporation farm near Richmond when the tiger suddenly became aggressive and grabbed him with its mouth. “I would say that was a mauling… he was pretty bloody.” Fire Chief Rick Gallas said. Gallas said workers told paramedics they had to beat the tiger with baseball bats to get it to release Dean.


Branson West, MISSOURI August 5, 2008

A 16-year-old was mauled by three tigers at a Branson Interactive Zoo and Aquarium (formerly called PREDATOR WORLD). The employee was apparently in the tiger pen taking a picture for a zoo patron when the attack happened.


Warrenton, MISSOURI August 3, 2008

A tiger jumped a fence at the Wesa-A-Geh-Ya Animal Park and attacked volunteer Jason Barr. Part of Barr’s leg had to be amputated. The tiger was shot.


West Palm Beach, FLORIDA May, 2008

A man named Marc McCarthy was rushed to the hospital after being bitten on the leg by one of his tigers, Sabi, on the set of a rap video being filmed in Miami. Marc McCarthy houses 22 big cats on what appears in aerial maps to be about 8 lots in a subdivision.


Whale at SeaWorld kills trainer


Man killed by “pet” tiger

Big Bear Lake, CALIFORNIA April 22, 2008

A 39 yr old animal trainer was killed while training a 5 yr old grizzly bear called Rocky. Miller was working at his cousin Randy Miller’s Predators in Action facility, which trains animals for films, when the bear lunged at him for no apparent reason.

San Francisco, CALIFORNIA December 25, 2007

A Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped her enclosure at the San Fransisco Zoo mauled two teenagers and killed a third. Police shot the tiger. One year earlier the same tiger attacked her keeper, chewing off her arm.

Acton, CALIFORNIA December 3, 2007

A 4 year old tiger belonging to the Shambala reserve of Tippi Hedren attacked and injured worker Chris Orr. The worker is in critical but stable condition with multiple bites.

San Antonio, TEXAS July 14, 2007

A tiger at the San Antonio Zoo mauled zoo keeper Jeff Tierney, leaving him in critical condition. The 244-pound tiger, named Berani, knocked the zookeeper down, bit him several times
and dragged him by the head into a service hallway, but for some reason released the injured
zookeeper for an instant — long enough for him to retrieve a vial of pepper
spray from his belt and repel the creature.

Altamont, KANSAS Aug. 18, 2005

A local teenager was killed while having her picture taken with a Siberian tiger. Haley Hilderbrand, 17, was visiting the Lost Creek Animal Sanctuary, where, for years, area high school seniors have gone to have their class photos taken alongside the sanctuary’s exotic fauna. While the 7-year-old tiger was being restrained by the sanctuary’s owner, Doug Billingsly, it turned and severely bit Hilderbrand, who later died of her wounds.

Minneapolis, MINNESOTA June 25, 2005

A 10-year-old boy was attacked by a lion and tiger. The child suffered a brain injury and severed spinal cord — injuries that have left the child a quadriplegic and dependent on a respirator. The child and his father were visiting body shop owner Chuck Mock, who owns 11 exotic cats and one bear. When Mock opened the cage, the tiger jumped out and attacked the boy.

Minneapolis, MINNESOTA April 27, 2005

A woman was seriously injured after being attacked by four tigers while cleaning their pen at a private property near Frontenac.

St Augustine, FLORIDA November 21, 2004

Two Sheriff’s deputies saved a 14-year-old boy from being attacked by a tiger late Saturday at the St. Johns County Fair.

Lowgap, NORTH CAROLINA January 25, 2004

A 14-year-old Surry County girl was mauled by a tiger kept in a cage behind the family’s trailer.

Millers Creek, NORTH CAROLINA December 14, 2003

A woman’s 400-pound Bengal tiger fatally mauled her 10-year-old nephew after pulling him under a fence and into his cage, authorities said. “Cat” was kept behind the family’s home in a cage that allowed the family dog to run in and out of the cage.

Las Vegas, NEVADA Oct. 3, 2003

A 600-pound white tiger dragged Roy Horn, 59, half of the famed duo Siegfried and Roy, offstage by the neck after Horn tapped its nose with a microphone for ignoring a command. He was in critical but stable condition Sunday at a Las Vegas hospital.

San Francisco, CALIFORNIA September 20, 2002

A tiger attacked a kindergartner at a school assembly Friday, sending the 6-year-old boy to a hospital. The tiger was being led out of an auditorium at Baymonte Christian School by its trainer when it suddenly lurched over a row of seats and grabbed the boy by the head in its jaws.

Boise, IDAHO August 12, 2000

A woman attending a fund-raiser for Zoo Boise was mauled by a tiger that slipped through a cage door, and then wounded by a bullet fired to subdue the animal.



A documentary film about captive wild animals, people who keep tigers as pets, backyard tiger breeders, white tigers, the exotic pet trade, the black market for tiger bone, pelts and meat, tiger conservation, and tiger attacks. Also concerning, human-animal relationships, animal law, and animal hoarding in the United States — as in the case of Terry Thompson in Zanesville, Ohio.  Filmed on location in  Indiana, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, California, and Wisconsin. Director, Producer Camilla Calamandrei, Rolling River Films.