Joan Byron-Marasek, who refers to herself as “The Tiger Lady,” lost her three-year battle in the New Jersey courts to keep her collection of 24 tigers in Jackson Township, New Jersey (hardly the wide-open spaces here in the most densely populated state in the union). Ms. Byron-Marasek came to the attention of the local police and the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife in 1999 when they received reports of a 431-pound Bengal tiger wandering loose in a nearby residential neighborhood. The Tiger Lady, presumably managing to keep a straight face, denied that the animal belonged to her. (Sounds reasonable to me. We all keep least a couple of Bengal tigers as pets here in the Garden State.)
The state authorities claimed that The Tiger Lady’s keeping two dozen tigers in her 12-acre Ocean County compound violated applicable state regulations. Ultimately, the matter was thought to be have been settled, when a non-profit wild animal orphanage in Texas agreed to take the big cats. However, the deal fell through, and the Texas animal orphanage declined to take the animals (at considerable cost) when the Tiger Lady insisted on retaining ownership of the animals, with an eye toward possibly reclaiming them at a later date.
The court’s ruling today stripped the Tiger Lady of ownership of the tigers. The court held that her failure over the past three years to make satisfactory arrangements for the animals permitted the state to take control over the tigers. Unfortunately, during that three-year period, the estimated costs to transport the animals and to house them in Texas rose from the original estimate of $140,000 to $250,000. The orphanage will pay one half of the costs, and New Jersey taxpayers will pick up the tab for the balance.
I can only imagine what the three-year battle with this Nutbar has cost New Jersey taxpayers and what a toll it must have taken on the nearby residents who have to go about their daily lives having two dozen tigers for neighbors, and knowing that, on at least one occasion, one of them has gotten loose.
Jersey. Ya gotta love it. Badda-Bing!!!