Darnell Dockett is firmly entrenched as a starter on the Cardinals’ defensive line, but he’s involved in another interesting battle this week as training camp gets underway.
See, Dockett says he owns a tiger cub. He tweeted recently that he purchased this animal — which he named “Buddy” — after being rebuffed in his attempt to purchase a monkey, one he said would have been permanently perched on his shoulder while wearing a miniature Dockett jersey (and what fun that would’ve been). He also owns an alligator that he purchased during the summer of 2011 and named “Nino.”
My pet tiger his name
is “buddy” I’m gonna bring him to a practice in training camp atleast
“one day” he’s handsome! pic.twitter.com/XiFHvzr7PC
So what’s the battle? Well, there are certain laws against owning exotic animals, and one group that’s particularly nitpicky about these laws apparently doesn’t feel entirely confident that their living situation with Dockett is either legal or beneficial.
The animal-rights organization PETA sent a letter Friday to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department — something Dockett apparently expected when he declined to detail the tiger’s or alligator’s living conditions last week, citing PETA’s possible involvement — asking for the organizations to investigate.
In case you’re wondering about specifics, the Endangered Species Act broadly prohibits private ownership of tigers without a special permit, and the Captive Wildlife Safety Act prohibits transporting tigers (and similar big cats) across state lines.
“Tigers are endangered, they’re dangerous, and it’s illegal — and cruel — to buy them and keep them as ‘pets’ in Arizona,” PETA director of captive animal law enforcement Delcianna Winders said in a statement. “PETA is calling on the authorities to make sure that any tiger Darnell Dockett may have bought ends up at an accredited sanctuary — not in a cage in a football player’s backyard.”
Dockett has not yet responded; he was excused from Cardinals practice Friday and Saturday for “personal reasons.”