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YANK HAS 42 ST TIGER AND ALLIGATOR IN FLAT; Cops collar big cat after owner bitten.

Byline: RECORD REPORTER

A HUGE tiger and a 5 ft long alligator were hauled out of a tiny New York flat after a commando-style police operation.

A policeman abseiled down the side of the council-owned building in Harlem to shoot a tranquiliser dart at the big cat, which was peering out of the window.

Worried neighbours had previously reported loud roars coming from the building.

And the downstairs neighbour had reported tiger urine leaking into her flat.

Police finally took action when owner Antoine Yates was bitten by the 42-stone Bengal-Siberian tiger, called Ming.

Yates, 37, rushed to hospital for treatment and told doctors he had been savaged by a pit bull terrier.

Suspicious docs knew the bite marks on his arm and leg were too big. As he was being treated, Yates suddenly pulled a drip out of his arm and fled.

Last night, hewas arrested 100 miles away in Philadelphia and charged with reckless endangerment.

Yates told a local news crew: ``I take this from my heart because I feel for animals so much.''

Cops faced a nightmare getting the tiger and the alligator out of the flat.

Officer Martin Duffy, who abseiled down the side of the building, said: ``I saw him eye to eye, to say the least.

``Hechargedtwiceand I shothim. He charged a last time and broke through the glass before the dart took effect.

``We usually deal with dogs and snakes. This is my first tiger. I got pretty nervous, I'm not going to lie.''

Mingwas taken to an animal shelter. Neighbours said in the past Yates also kept bear cubs, two rottweiler dogs, rabbits and a tarantula.

l LAST night, mauled magician Roy Horn, 59, was still on a life-support machine in hospital after being savaged on stage by a white tiger.

Horn, one half of the world famous Seigfried and Roy act, had his throat ripped out during a Las Vegas show.

CAPTION(S):

CATCH A TIGER: Officer Duffy abseils down to tranquilise Ming, inset; EARNING THEIR STRIPES: A sedated Ming is carried out of the cramped New York flat
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 6, 2003
Words:348
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