STUDIO CITY—Nicholas Perkins, 32, of Studio City is facing charges of illegally owning and mistreating a tiger cub. Perkins is facing four criminal counts including two counts of illegal possession of a tiger; mistreatment of a tiger, and possession of anabolic steroids.
Officials became aware of the situation when they received a tip in October 2017 by Wildlife Trafficking Wardens from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife from someone who observed pictures of a model posing with a tiger cub on Instagram via YouTube vlogger Logan Paul. Officials from the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office stated that upon serving a search warrant to seize the animal from Perkins’ home on November 9, 2017, extensive evidence of the animal’s poor living conditions and the presence of anabolic steroids were found. The defendant was allegedly feeding the tiger cub kitten milk replacement formula with a baby bottle. Paul is currently not facing any charges in the case.
Paul was scrutinized for videos he posted online in the past. One video showed an apparent suicide victim in a Japanese forest in December 2017. YouTube cut business ties with Paul and his channels were removed from YouTube’s Google Preferred programme, where brands sell ads on the platform’s top 5 percent of content creators.
“Tigers and other exotic animals are not pets,” said City Attorney Mike Feuer. “Keeping these potentially dangerous animals in a residential setting poses a serious safety risk for residents and animals alike. My office will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure these treasured creatures are safe and those who illegally keep them are held accountable.”
The state of California bans the private ownership of large cats and only allows exhibiting permits for educational purposes only. According to Big Cat Rescue, a non-profit educational sanctuary, there must be a written statement of purpose that specifically incorporates a No Pets Education Policy.
The organization states that the cats must be presented in a natural setting and promote natural behavior patterns. Breeding permits can be issued for animals that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife determines will not ultimately result in unwanted or uncared for animals or if a specific species is endangered. The zoo permits that allows possession are only for species listed on department approved permit inventory. Research that is done must be for college, government, or a legitimate scientific institution.
“California has some of the strongest restricted species laws in the country. They’re designed to protect exotic animals from neglect and improper care and serve to protect the public from these animals, many of which can be dangerous,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). “Our Wildlife Trafficking Team, working with the City Attorney’s office, are sending a message that exotic species like tigers don’t belong as pets in people’s homes.”
Prosecutors say that the tiger cub was seized from Perkins’s home and was brought to a rescue facility, where it has made a full recovery.
If convicted, Perkins can face up to two years and six months in jail with upwards to $4,000 in fines. He is charged with four criminal counts and two counts of illegal possession of a tiger, mistreatment of a tiger, and possession of anabolic steroids.
Perkins’ arraignment is scheduled for Monday, December 10. If convicted, Perkins could face up to two years and six months in jail and $4,000 in fines.