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Wild Animals Kept As Pets Can Pose Danger

September 22, 2000, 12:00 AM

KELO-LAND is no stranger to wild animals; badgers, bobcats, and coyotes, are common sites on the prairies of South Dakota. What happens when you take a wild animal out of it's habitat and try to turn it into a pet? A KELO-LAND teen is in the hospital, after being mauled by a Tiger; a Siberian Tiger owned by his father. Four weeks ago 14 year old Brent Loneman was attacked by the big cat on his fathers farm near Delmont. After the attack the boy was flown to a Sioux Falls hospital. Loneman's mother is fighting for custody of her son. Fourteen-year-old Brent Loneman is still in intensive care at Sioux Valley Hospital. While he's getting better, it'll be awhile before he's ready to go home. But the question is where will home be? Lions, tigers and bears; no lie. Four weeks ago one of the tigers attacked his son, biting his leg, shoulder and neck. An attack that's left him scarred for life. "Now he has a traech, they did a tracheotomy, he's got a traech, he still can't swallow." Brent's mother, Michelle Olson is fighting to keep her son away from these animals. State law says if you 're going to have wild animals like this you need to provide an adequate facility and adequate shelter. Michelle says this one is unsafe. Ron Loneman keeps his tigers locked up in wired fences, his bears in a small corn crib. There are no height requirements, there are no square footage requirements, there's no enclosure requirements whatsoever. The cages don't have roofs on them. Loneman has all the permits to have these animals and his facility passes inspection with the state. Olson wants answers. "I also want to find out for liability purposes what or where's the liability and accountability come in and who's responsible for the payment for this. it just so happens it's his son, on another day it might not be." Olson fears Brent could wind up here, if he's allowed to go back here. Olson says Brent wants to be with his father, who has custody. She took her case to a judge yesterday, to try and get temporary custody, at least until Loneman gets rid of his animals. But the judge has not made a ruling yet. Olson says Brent could be transferred to the Armour hospital as early as Monday.

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