Shining Stars Teen Excellence

Tiger doesn't deter fairgoers

2006-07-20T00:00:00Z Tiger doesn't deter fairgoersMADELINE FARBMAN
Glens Falls Post-Star
July 20, 2006 12:00 am  • 

mfarbman@poststar.com

BALLSTON SPA - News that Calcutta, the 2-year-old white Bengal tiger on display at the Saratoga County Fair, had scratched a boy Tuesday did not keep visitors away Wednesday.

Bob Holmes of Greenfield Center stood with his daughter at the Ashfield Game Farm booth watching the snoozing tiger from behind a fence that had been moved several feet from the tiger's cage.

But even if the fence weren't there, he wouldn't let Lilly, 6, get any closer.

"It's common sense that they're wild animals," he said.

He'd heard about the accident, but thought that the injured child just shouldn't have been allowed so close to the tiger.

The tiger had pushed her paw out of her cage and onto the head of Riley Willard, 4, who was having his picture taken on a bench in front of the cage. The owner of Ashfield Game Farm, Jeff Ash, said Tuesday that he thought the tiger was just pawing around, trying to see the baby kangaroo the child had in his lap.

The bench had been moved farther from the cage Tuesday afternoon. And on Wednesday, children could still get their picture taken with a baby kangaroo or wallaby for $10, but the photo would not have the tiger cage in the background.

Chris Periard, who was working at the booth, said business had been the same Wednesday as it had Tuesday.

Fair officials allowed the tiger to stay because she had not been acting out of hostility, she was up to date on rabies vaccination and the fence was moved to prevent another accident, said Dick Rowland, fair general manager.

Rowland said he'd spoken with Riley's grandmother, who said the boy was doing fine. He also said the grandmother had not requested that the tiger be removed from the fair.

He said he had not heard negative reactions from fairgoers.

Outside Calcutta's cage, Amy South, 10, had heard about the accident, but she still wished she could pet Calcutta.

Her mother, Kathy South of Ballston Spa, said she wasn't concerned by the scratching incident because she thought the tiger was just looking to play. If the tiger had been allowed at the booth, she might let her daughter touch Calcutta.

"With some supervision, probably," she said.

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