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Studio City Man Faces Criminal Charges After Allegedly Keeping Pet Tiger Cub

December 10, 2018 - 10:35 am
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(KNX 1070/CNS) - Social media posts helped investigators track down a tiger cub that was allegedly being kept as a pet at a home and being mistreated in Studio City.

Now the man, facing charges of illegally possessing and mistreating the cub, had his arraignment postponed Monday. 

The tiger cub originally appeared in YouTube video from Logan Paul Vlogs, an Internet celebrity who posts videos on YouTube about various stunts.   The video posted on YouTube - and viewed more than eight million times - made it easier to locate the cat.

Nicholas Perkins, 32, did not appear in court as his attorney asked that the arraignment be rescheduled to March 8.

Perkins is charged with illegal possession of a tiger, mistreatment of a tiger and possession of anabolic steroids, all misdemeanors. If convicted, he could face up to 2 1/2 years in jail and $4,000 in fines, according to City Attorney Mike Feuer's office.

David Bess, deputy director and chief of the Law Enforcement Division at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the state has some of the strongest restricted species laws in the nation.

"They're designed to protect exotic animals from neglect and improper care and serve to protect the public from these animals, many of which can be dangerous," he said. "Our Wildlife Trafficking Team, working with the City Attorney's office, are sending a message that exotic species like tigers don't belong as pets in people's homes."

In October 2017, DFW wildlife trafficking wardens received an anonymous tip from someone who saw photos of a model posing with a tiger cub on Instagram. DFW investigators identified the defendant and the cub through references in the post, according to Feuer's office.

During the investigation, the defendant and the animal's location were also verified by DFW wardens after the cub appeared on a vlog of YouTube personality Logan Paul, according to Deputy City Attorney Nick Karno.

When a search warrant was executed on the defendant's home on Nov. 9, 2017, agents found alleged "extensive evidence of the animal's poor living conditions and the presence of anabolic steroids," according to a statement released by Feuer's office that also alleged Perkins was feeding the tiger cub kitten milk replacement formula with a baby bottle.

The animal appeared to be malnourished and disoriented when rescued by authorities, according to City Attorney's spokesman Frank Mateljan.

The cub was placed in a large cat rescue facility in north Los Angeles County, was put on a proper diet and now appears to be doing well, according to Feuer's office.

"Tigers and other exotic animals are not pets," Feuer said in announcing the charges. "Keeping these potentially dangerous animals in a residential setting poses a serious safety risk for residents and animals alike. My office will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure these treasured creatures are safe and those who illegally keep them are held accountable."

City Attorney Mike Feuer said "This is an example of what appears to be a situation where there was no consideration given to the quality of care for the animal. That is what we have alleged here."

The man identified as the animal's owner is now facing criminal charges, including illegally possessing and mistreating a tiger, that could result in a sentence of up to 2.5 years in jail, if he's convicted.

The tiger cub was sent to a sanctuary and officials say has made a full recovery.