Mich. Animal Control Officer Responds to Report of Tiger in Backyard, Finds Stuffed Animal

EMILY SHAPIRO
Mich. Animal Control Officer Responds to Report of Tiger in Backyard, Finds Stuffed Animal (ABC News)
Mich. Animal Control Officer Responds to Report of Tiger in Backyard, Finds Stuffed Animal (ABC News)

An animal control supervisor in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was in for a surprise when he responded to a report of a tiger in a backyard.

The call came in Thursday afternoon, said Joe Dainelis, supervisor at the Kent County Animal Shelter, so he hopped in a truck to go check it out.

"The whole time on my drive, I'm completely cynical," Dainelis told ABC News today. "There's no way; it can't be."

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But when he arrived, he had a change of heart.

"I stop on the street, I look down the driveway and I see its backside... At that point... I could totally see how someone would call this in," said Dainelis, who has worked in animal control for 11 years.

"Its’ facing away from me, it looks like a juvenile, smaller in size," Dainelis said, and he snapped this photo:

"I pull my radio out, I called dispatch and I said, 'We're going to need PD out here, there's a tiger in the backyard.' I thought it was real," he said.

Another animal control officer arrived, and when she went to take a look at the yard, she broke the news to Dainelis: it was a large stuffed animal.

Dainelis relayed the message to dispatch.

"'Disregard, PD. It's a stuffed animal,'" he recounted.

"I can't blame the caller because it had me," he said.

The house was vacant and the stuffed animal's owner was unknown, Dainelis said, so the officers decided to take the harmless tiger into custody anyway. No one has claimed the stuffed animal yet.