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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
NY tiger owner's case thrown out
A New Yorker who was mauled by his pet tiger has failed in his bid to sue after police searched his flat without a warrant.

The judge said Antoine Yates had been audacious to claim his rights had been violated in the October 2003 search - which also uncovered an alligator.

He said police had acted "reasonably" in removing the 450lb (204kg) tiger from Yates's fifth-floor flat.

Yates was sentenced to five months in jail in 2004 for reckless endangerment.

The tiger, named Ming, and the six-foot-long (1.8m) caiman alligator, called Al, were taken to an animal refuge in Ohio.

'Pit bull' claim

In his lawsuit against the city, filed the same year he was jailed, Yates said police had violated his constitutional rights by entering his flat without a warrant.

He also claimed that $7,000 in cash, $30,000 in jewellery and a brown pet rabbit were missing when he returned home.

The whereabouts of the rabbit has not been ascertained, but there is no indication that Al the alligator was questioned in that regard
Judge Sidney Stein

Police were alerted to the presence of the 10-foot-long (3m) tiger after Yates sought hospital treatment for deep bites.

Although he claimed they had been inflicted by a pit bull dog, neighbours told police about the big cat roaming his apartment, in breach of city regulations.

A police marksman then abseiled down the outside of the block to shoot the tiger - raised by Yates from a cub - with a tranquiliser dart.

Giving his ruling, District Judge Sidney Stein said the police had acted "cautiously and reasonably" in the interests of public safety.

He described Yates' action in bringing the lawsuit as "chutzpah" - a Yiddish term for unbelievable gall or audacity.

Judge Stein added: "The whereabouts of the rabbit has not been ascertained, but there is no indication that Al the alligator was questioned in that regard.

"The court suggests he may be more knowledgeable on this issue than he disgorged to date."

No comment has yet been given by lawyers acting for Yates.


SEE ALSO
Tiger found in Harlem flat
05 Oct 03 |  Americas
Big cats cause stir in US
13 Apr 02 |  Americas

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