Mike Tyson's Tiger Taken from Tattoo Parlor

Feds seize animals on grounds of neglect

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    NEWSLETTERS

    USDA says big cats were underweight, lethargic and had skin issues. (Published Friday, May 28, 2010)

    You might encounter some wild types in Roy "Boy" Cooper's tattoo parlor in Gary, Indiana. But you won't see any wild animals. Not any longer.

    Federal agents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture confiscated four tigers from Cooper's business in the Glen Park section of the city -- and one of those tigers once belonged to Mike Tyson.

    The tiger, Storm, was purchased from the former boxing champ, according to tattoo artists at the store. Tyson was a collector of Siberian tigers before his bankruptcy. Tyson still deals in tigers, according to Cooper -- who claims to have inked the infamous tattoo on the champ's face.

    No further details about Tyson's former tiger were immediately available.

    Cooper was livid that his tigers were taken, saying he has handled the animals for nearly 50 years and that he had a license from the USDA to display the animals at his shop.

    "I check all these cats all the time. I come up here once or twice a week and he takes very good care of his tigers," said Cooper's ex-wife, Debra Gagnon.

    But a spokesperson for the USDA said inspectors visited earlier this week and found the tigers to be underweight and with skin problems.

    Cooper's friends and loyal patrons watched as the big cats were hauled away, all while defending the way he cared for his exotic animals.

    "They were perfectly healthy.  The only thing that was unhealthy was how they tranquilized them and took them out of here," said Cooper's friend, Mike Pollack.

    The tigers—Storm, Pearl, Kya, and Kelly—were reportedly taken to an undisclosed, USDA-licensed sanctuary.

    Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.