The wildlife center that is home to a tiger that could become LSU's next live mascot is a former troubled breeding facility that underwent extensive changes when new owners took over in late 2016, according to a December 2016 story by the Okeechobee News.
LSU identified the facility as a sanctuary formerly known as "Animal Adventures" in Okeechobee, Fla., that is now called "Wild at Heart Wildlife Center."
Previous owners were cited in September 2016 for unsafe and unsanitary conditions and record-keeping violations, but the new owners said in the 2016 story that those days were over.
After acquiring the facility, Jamie and Jeremy Hargett began reducing the number of animals there and providing the remaining animals with larger enclosures, they told the newspaper.
They also stopped the breeding of tigers at the wildlife center.
“If you can’t afford upkeep, you don’t need to breed,” Jamie Hargett said, noting that the veterinarian bills for a pregnant tiger are "outrageous.”
In its news release, LSU noted the facility's past, saying the "new owner has initiated several improvements" and was able to "reestablish compliance with state and federal animal care regulations."
LSU said the tiger is being donated to LSU by the wildlife center.
Click here to see the December 2016 story from the Okeechobee News.