A Prospect man who had his five tigers seized last month says he wants his animals back, claiming the state cannot adequately care for seized animals.
"It's not like a zoo," Mike Stapleton said. "These animals are a part of our family."
Stapleton signed over the animals to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, even though he says he was working with them to become compliant under the new Dangerous Wild Animal Act.
"Yeah, [it's] very upsetting," he said.
Also upsetting, he says is knowing the ODA is now asking for $500,000 in additional funding to provide care and transportation for seized animals.
"They are admitting by asking for this money that they do not have the finances to take care of what they're taking in," he said.
ODA claims with the law being new the agency did not have a clear understanding of the funds needed. Stapleton claims it's a lack of education.
"This comes back to where the ODA does not know what they're doing," he said. "They do not know what they're doing."
He's fighting for the law to be repealed and his animals to be back in his custody.
"I want them to stop taking people's animals and rethink this whole thing and I want my animals back and I want them today," he said.
A fight he's not ready to back down from.
"I want to say to the ODA they haven't seen the last of me," he said. "I'm going to be a pain in their [expletive] from now on."
Stapleton says four of his tigers are being held in the ODA’s holding facility in Reynoldsburg. The fifth tiger is at the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla.