Owner says he took care of tigers
The owner of an exotic animal farm says the four tigers and one camel found dead on his property Tuesday weren't neglected. "Animals do get sick. Animals do die, particularly in cold weather," Dr.
The owner of an exotic animal farm says the four tigers and one camel found dead on his property Tuesday weren't neglected.
"Animals do get sick. Animals do die, particularly in cold weather," Dr. Roy Cordy said Thursday.
Tigers at Cordy's YOR Exotics animal farm, five miles north of Pelican Rapids, may have fed on each other, according to records filed Thursday in Otter Tail County District Court.
Local, state and federal investigators found the animal remains after searching the property Tuesday.
Officials obtained a judge's signature for a search warrant of the property after Elizabeth Hoadley, who lives south of Cordy's farm, complained she hadn't seen anyone feeding the animals for the previous 10 days.
Cordy, who has had the farm more than 12 years, said he has not changed his routine in recent months.
He said he feeds and waters his animals a specific amount every day and there is little left over when they are done.
Because his job requires travel and working odd hours, Cordy said he sometimes must do his farm chores in the middle of the night.
"I think people, before they make assumptions, I wish they could have just called me," Cordy said.
Cordy wouldn't discuss the animals that were found dead or how long they had been that way but he said exotic animals pose a particular challenge when it comes to maintaining their health.
"I've spent up to $6,000 in one year on vet bills," he said. "These exotic animals don't show illness like other animals do.
"In the wild, if they show that they're ill, they're going to get preyed upon. So they don't show their illness until they drop over."
The dead animals were not immediately removed because the surviving tiger might have considered them her prey and defended them, Cordy said.
After Hoadley's complaint to the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Department, Deputy Marvin Robinson visited the farm, according to the search warrant filed in the investigation.
At first glance, Robinson said he saw a camel that appeared in good health.
The search warrant says Robinson then called Hoadley for more details about her complaint.
"Ms. Hoadley stated that there are other camels and a llama and other animals that are normally walking around the compound," court papers say. She also told Robinson that tigers lived in one of the buildings.
The deputy then took a closer look and spotted two camels, a llama and another exotic bird.
Court records say:
Robinson also found a dead tiger inside one of the buildings. The tiger was lying on its side and covered with snow.
In the doorway of another building, the deputy saw a live tiger and the head and hide of a third tiger.
"It appeared that the live tiger had eaten the other tiger," Robinson wrote in his affidavit.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took custody of the remains and officials are performing tests to determine how the animals died.
No charges have been filed in the case.
There were no signs of animals having been recently fed or watered at the site, Robinson said in his affidavit.
Over the last six months, Cordy said he has been in the process of liquidating the farm and finding homes for the animals.
The farm still houses a number of creatures, including two camels, a llama, an Asian leopard, five lemurs and some tortoises, Cordy said.
Court records say Cordy's home, located across Tamarac Lake from the farm, was sold at sheriff's auction last year and Cordy was evicted from the home last month.
The Sheriff's Department said Cordy is cooperating in the investigation and working with the Otter Tail County Humane Society and the Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton, N.D., to care for the animals.
According to a search warrant, here's a partial list of what investigators found at the farm Tuesday:
- One young male tiger
- Four tiger legs -- two right rear, one left rear, and one right front
- One tiger tail
- One adult female tiger and half of one adult tiger
- Burned bird bones
Before Tuesday's search, the Sheriff's Department investigated two complaints about the farm within the past 18 months, but found nothing alarming during either visit.
The last time the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service inspected YOR Exotics was in December 2001.
Cordy's license, which allowed him to buy and sell exotic animals, required a regular unannounced inspection by the agency.
Cordy did not renew his license after it expired in November 2003.
An inspector visited YOR Exotics five times between May 2001 and January 2003. However, the agency didn't complete four of the inspections.
Jim Rogers, an animal health inspection service spokesman, said Thursday that's not unusual.
"The requirement is that someone is there between business hours so we have access, but it is more common that there's not somebody at the smaller operations," he.
If the department has reason to believe animals are in danger, it has other means to access the facility, he said.
"Otherwise we'll just come back some other time," he said.
Officials conducted an inspection at YOR Exotics on Dec. 20, 2001, and cited Cordy for failing to have an 8-foot perimeter fence around the tiger pens. An inventory of the animals included four ring-tailed lemurs, six tigers, six camels, one sloth, four sugar gliders and a hedgehog.
Forum reporter Erin Hemme Froslie contributed to this article.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555