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Tiger Tales

tiger Tigers and other big cats were housed in small enclosures with nothing more than a cinderblock box or concrete culvert to shield them from the blazing sun and temperatures of 100F or more. As in the primates' cages, rotten food and feces routinely sat in the big-cat enclosures for days and even weeks at a time, and algae grew in the water receptacles, which were rarely cleaned. None of the cats were provided with enrichment.

A pair of caracals (large sleek cats with short auburn-colored fur and pointed, black-tipped ears) kept in a giant bird cage endured particularly bad conditions. Azzopardi claimed that the cats were too aggressive to be removed from their cage when it was cleaned, but the truth was that there was not an adjacent enclosure in which to put the cats! As a result, half-eaten animal parts, feces, and piles of rotten, maggot-filled meat littered the cage. The USDA inspectors had to have noticed this perpetually filthy enclosure during inspections, yet they did nothing about it. Another big cat who suffered neglect was a tiger who had a raw, bloody wound on her tail. Instead of providing the animal with veterinary treatment, Azzopardi placed this tiger in an enclosure with a tiny pool of dirty water in it with the fantastical expectation that the filthy water would somehow help heal the animals tail.

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