If you have ever complained about how tiny your NYC apartment is, think about the poor, poor 400 pound tiger cooped up in a Harlem apartment building. Police removed the 400 Bengal-Siberian tiger, Ming, from the apartment of Antoine Yates yesterday, calling in a police officer who needed to be rappelled down the building, in order to shoot the tiger with a tranquilizer gun. Also found in the apartment: A caiman alligator named Al. Officer Martin Duffy said the tiger charged at him, breaking the glass of the window: "I have to say I got a little nervous I'm not going to lie." But he successfully darted Ming, who was later carried out by many people, from places like the NYPD, Bronx Zoo, Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty and Animals and the Center for Animal Care and Control.
Yates' animals were discovered due to his hospital visit for treatment after the tiger mauled him (Yates was trying to protect a kitten from Ming). Apaprently, doctors and nurses can tell that tiger-sized bites are not from a pit bull, as Yates claimed. Yates has been arrested in Philadelphia (where he fled after his menagerie was discovered), under charges of reckless endangerment.
- A neighbor complained to the Housing Authority about "tiger urine" leaking from Yates' apartment; the HA knew of the complaint, but claimed not to know it was from a tiger. [Daily News]
- A second tiger, some bear cubs, two Rottweilers, rabbits and a tarantula also lived there at the time. [DN]
- Ming was fed "a couple of chickens"
- Officials are trying to figure out how Yates got a tiger cub in the first place. [Times]
- Yates loves animals; brother Aaron: "He raised a healthy tiger. They should find him a job with animals."
- Mayor Bloomberg: "Tigers are dangerous animals."
- Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly: "This is clearly a first. This is an 'Only in New York' story."
- Neighbor:"I think it's crazy for you to have something like that. This is not upstate; it's not a zoo. [NY1]
- Yates: "I am trying to create a Garden of Eden, something this world lacks." [NY Post]
Ming is going to Noah's Lost Ark in Berlin Center, Ohio, an "exotic animal refuge." His friend, Al, will be sent to different refuge equipped for reptiles.