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Wednesday, Nov 30, 2005County: East Baton Rouge
Disposition: USDA Citation
Case Images: 1 files available
Person of Interest: Eric John Drogosch
When Eric Drogosch brought his bengal tiger cubs to Linda McCarley's home, she was excited to see the exotic baby animals. But it did not take long for McCarley, a private investigator, to realize something was wrong. Drogosch had been seen with the cubs - Sully, Diesel and Kamal - around town at restaurants, LSU Tiger football games and the thrill ride The Ultimate Drop, where he would charge $10 for a picture with the cubs. Concerned locals took action to make sure the cubs were receiving the proper professional care. "He was a smooth talker, but you could tell he was exploiting these animals," McCarley said. "They were kept in cages in the back of his truck."
McCarley began following Drogosch, and noticed the cubs were malnourished. She then called the United States Department of Agriculture officials, who referred her to fellow activist Cynthia Cash.
Cash, a University graduate and a former professor, has been involved in animal rescue for the past ten years. She helped rescue three tigers from a truck stop in Grosse Tete in fall 2003. Cash called animal control, and found that Drogosch was a licensed exhibitor. But after conducting her own research with the USDA, which licenses exotic animal exhibitors, Cash found that was not the case.
Drogosch's license had been suspended Oct. 28, 2004, for transporting the tigers across state lines, and he had a history of violating USDA regulations. "Anybody irresponsible enough to drag tiger cubs to bars and sporting events is up to something," Cash said. The USDA sent a "cease and desist" order to Drogosch Dec. 20, 2005 ordering him to surrender the animals. Drogosch sold all three cubs to McCarley and her supporters for $800. Drogosch requested they contact the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans so that the cubs could have a place to stay until the women, animal control and the USDA found a proper home. They decided on Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center in Keenesburg, Co. because center officials were willing to take all three cubs. The Baton Rouge Exxon Refinery paid all transportation and medical expenses. "We worked well together," said Audubon Zoo General Curator Dan Maloney. "I've never been involved in such a beautiful rescue," Cash said. "It all came together so well."
On October 28, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-in an extremely rare move-issued Drogosch an order revoking his license for repeated violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. The violations include failure to provide adequate housing, failure to handle dangerous animals sufficiently to ensure the well-being of the animals and the public (resulting in injuries to a child), operating without a valid license, and failure to maintain a program of veterinary care.
Director of the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center Pat Craig said the cubs are doing great and have made a new friend in Athos, another rescued bengal tiger cub. All four cubs currently stay in a 1-acre enclosure as they wait for their permanent 10-acre home, which is expected to be finished by 2006.
Drogosch was unable to be reached for comment.
- The Daily Reveille - January 26, 2005
- PETA Action Alerts
- Big Cat Rescue
- Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition
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