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Big Bad Kitty


The big-cat saga continues in eastern Idaho. A Seventh District judge ruled against a big-cat breeder who has been fighting to bring his collection of tigers and other cats into Idaho.

Peter Renzo, president of the Siberians are Becoming Rapidly Extinct Foundation in Carson City, Nev., had sued, trying to force the state to allow him to bring his wildlife collection to a new facility in southeastern Idaho, despite the fact that state law prohibits importing exotic animals.

The Idaho Department of Agriculture rejected Renzo's request unless he agreed to spay and neuter the cats. Citing the fact that they're endangered, Renzo refused and filed his lawsuit (BW, News, "For the Birds," April 16, 2008).

Earlier this year, the court ruled that the Department of Agriculture had to reexamine its rules for anyone who wanted to breed exotic animals.

Renzo later asked the court to set aside the requirement to neuter the animals, but the judge didn't go along with the request. The ruling states that to do so would go against state administrative rule, and that only the State Legislature has the authority to make changes.

While most people might take this as a hint to start looking for a different location—preferably one in a state with laxer exotic animal regulations—it doesn't seem like Renzo will be deterred.

"This is criminal," Renzo told the Idaho State Journal. "This is the first step to communism."

It looks like the legal action isn't over yet, either. In May, Renzo filed a $13 million tort claim (which comes in advance of a lawsuit) against the Department of Agriculture for failure to issue the permits he wanted.