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Tiger at prom? School faces backlash for bringing exotic animal to dance
14 May 2018, 06:58 | Glen Norman
The school defended itself against criticism saying that the animals were minded by state-licensed handlers
"...several animals were displayed in a very controlled situation, including a Lemur, two Macaws, an African Fennec Fox, and a Tiger".
She said that video of the tiger shows that the animal was being abused.
Student Marie Christine Castellanos' brother attended the prom.
However, for students at Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, it turned into a night full of debate about animal abuse.
Parent Maria Castellanos told WPLG that she was concerned not only for the safety of the students but for the tiger itself.
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"The tiger is clearly looking for a way to get out of that situation - it's not hard to interpret that behavior", ZooMiami spokesman Ron Magill told the Miami Herald.
"Wild animals are not amusement props, they are sentient creatures with complex physical, mental and environmental needs who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect", Higgins said, adding: "None of these can be met by a silly prom stunt, but I'm heartened that numerous students seem to have realised that this tiger didn't deserve the stress of providing their amusement".
Despite the criticism, the school's marketing director defended the decision to bring in the animals, saying in a statement to WSVN-TV the animals were brought in by professionals and school officials were assured they were properly cared for. Video from the event showed it was during that instance that the tiger appeared to be in distress- continuously pacing the cage.
"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", it read.
PETA also weighed in on the controversy.
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It's not the first time prom night has involved animals.
Ultimately, David Pugh, the school's principal, apologized.
School administrators said in a statement that the venue approved it and that the animals were provided by facilities licensed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
"Moving forward, we will evaluate our current policies and procedures in the planning and management of school events, including the impact these have on others", Pugh said in a statement posted to the school's website.
Representatives for Christopher Columbus High School didn't immediately respond to INSIDER's request for comment. Follow INSIDER on Facebook.
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