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Parents cause uproar over caged tiger at school’s prom event

POSTED May 15, 2018 9:29 a.m.
Parents are furious at a Miami high school for bringing a caged tiger to a recent prom event, according to multiple reports.

Christopher Columbus High School in Miami-Dade County hosted a prom with the theme “Welcome to the Jungle.” The event, hosted at the Double Tree Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center, included a caged menagerie of a tiger and other animals.

The event also included fire dancers in animal costumes, according to WPLG-TV, a local media station in Florida.

Videos of the event surfaced online, showing caged animals.

Parent Maria Castellanos told WPLG-TV she didn’t expect to see a tiger at the event. She criticized the school for having a real tiger.

"That tiger was in distress," she said. “The reason he is pacing up and down and his ears (are) going back is because he is showing you distress."

Student Marie-Christine Castellanos told WFOR-TV the prom didn’t suit the tiger’s needs and that tigers aren’t a source of entertainment.

“Tigers are wild animals. They don’t need to be displayed as objects for our amusement. They don’t like the fire, the cages, the music, the teenagers with the cameras,” she said.

The school released a statement, confirming the tiger, the two macaws and an African fennec fox were on display. Police were present the entire time, according to The Sun-Sentinel.

"The tiger, which was displayed for a few minutes in a cage, was never harmed or in danger, was not forced to perform, was always accompanied by his handlers, and for the great majority of the time, was laying down in a relaxed state, facing away from the audience," a school spokesman said.

The school said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission licensed the facility that provided the animals.

Maria Castellanos said she’s still unhappy with the lessons this teaches children.

"The saddest part of it all is teaching the children that there is no merit to the life of that animal — that that animal doesn't deserve any better," Castellanos said.

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