NFL Star and PETA Clash Over Pet Tiger ‘Buddy’

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Darnell Dockett, of the Arizona Cardinals, has come under the scrutiny of PETA and other animal rights groups for his latest family addition: a young tiger named Buddy. After Dockett was unable to buy a pet monkey during a recent trip to Florida, it seems that he settled on a much wilder alternative and returned to his home in Arizona with a tiger cub. Since then, Buddy has become the star of Dockett’s twitter page and the released photos have angered many animal rights activists.

While it is technically not illegal for the football star to own Buddy, he could face legal consequences (jail time and the removal of Buddy from his possession) if the tiger was transported across state lines without the necessary permits. PETA has written letters of complaint to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department, asking that an investigation take place.

In a recent press statement, the PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement, Delcianna Winders, said “[t]igers are endangered, they’re dangerous, and it’s illegal and cruel to buy them and keep them as ‘pets’ in Arizona.” PETA hopes that the investigation will result in Buddy living out his life “at an accredited sanctuary, not in a cage, in a football player’s backyard.”

Dockett also received some negative attention from PETA back in 2011, when he claimed that he would be bringing his pet alligator, Nino, to football training.