Tiger in bar blown out of proportion, owner explains his side - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Tiger in bar blown out of proportion, owner explains his side

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John Basile and Shere Khan John Basile and Shere Khan
FOX 32's Craig Wall with Shere Khan FOX 32's Craig Wall with Shere Khan
Shere Khan Shere Khan
Uncle Richie's Place (Photos by FOX 32's Craig Wall) Uncle Richie's Place (Photos by FOX 32's Craig Wall)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

John Basile likes to take his Siberian Tiger Shere Khan for walks outside, so the cub can play with his Great Pyrenees dog pal Max. It's not a problem at Basile's Big Run Wolf Ranch in Lockport.

However, On Sunday February 16th, Basile took the tiger to Uncle Richie's Bar in town and it caused a bit of a stir.

"I don't know if I had permission, the owner was not there, so I brought him in the back door, and he stayed for 15 minutes and then the music was too loud and too many people, too many distractions, so he started getting a little cranky so I took him out," said Basile.

People who saw the tiger that night said it was a little disconcerting seeing what is usually considered a wild animal.

"I was a little scared, like I was surprised to see somebody with a tiger, like just walking the streets like it was a normal thing, like a dog or something," said Ethan Autman, a witness to the scene that night who recorded video of the animal.

Basile said that he took the tiger to the bar to promote Wild Fest, an upcoming event he was taking part in with other wildlife educators where people get to see the tiger up close. He said at no time was anyone in the bar in danger.

"We had two handlers there that are trained by me, they know what to do, so he was in complete control at all times. It's not like we walked in there, turned him loose, and said go see everybody," Basile said.

Basile, who is raising the now five month old cub to be part of his wildlife education center, was charged with three misdemeanors, including reckless conduct and possession of a dangerous animal. He believes the whole incident has been blown out of proportion, especially by some of the international press.

"People were getting the assumption that I brought a 500 pound tiger into the bar, well he's only 45 pounds," said Basile.

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