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July 01, 2015

Stuffed tiger subject of New Jersey civil forfeiture case

Man challenging government seizure of taxidermied cat

A stuffed tiger is the subject of a civil forfeiture case between a New York City man and the New Jersey U.S. Attorney's Office.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the tiger was brought into the Port of Newark by an individual in November 2014 as a part of a man's household move from France. 

Tigers are classified as endangered animals under U.S. law, making their transportation to the country, dead or alive, subject to approval by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Moving the cat requires a permit, and according to court documents  the one held for this specific tiger meant it was only to be moved within the European Union.

The USFWS rejected the man's request for bringing the cat to the U.S. in January and seized the tiger shortly thereafter, sending a notice of forfeiture to the owner. 

The owner, now living in New York City, officially contested the seizure in April. Because of the owner's contest, the government is required to either give the cat back or bring a civil forfeiture action to court, which the U.S. Attorney's Office announced it was doing Wednesday. 

Because this is a civil forfeiture case, the legal action is against the item - in this case the tiger - and not the owner.