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Tiger-keeper faces possible fine, jail time

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Posted: Friday, February 20, 2004 12:00 am

Associated Press

RED WING -- A jury found a Red Wing man guilty of violating a zoning ordinance for keeping up to eight Siberian tigers at his rural residence.

Grant Oly, 47, will be sentenced next month by District Judge Thomas Bibus for two counts of violating an ordinance that limits to three the number of exotic pets that can be kept on agricultural property in Goodhue County.

Goodhue County authorities reported that five people were bitten by Oly's tigers.

Last year, Bibus ordered one tiger that bit a 31-year-old pregnant woman on the wrist to be euthanized. The people bitten -- four of whom were teenagers who worked with the tigers -- testified during the five-day trial, Assistant Goodhue County Attorney Carol Lee said.

Oly was acquitted on two public nuisance counts stemming from the bites, probably because the jury didn't believe the bite victims represented a "considerable" number of people, Lee said.

The cats were part of a business Oly ran called Tiger-Zone, which advertised the sale of tiger cubs on a Web site.

To legally keep four or more tigers, he needs a conditional-use permit from the County Board.

Each conditional-use permit violation carries a maximum penalty of 90 days jail and a $1,000 fine.

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