Update #1 ·

Former mascot cub "forgotten" at roadside zoo chews own toe off; school insists live mascots are "something people enjoy"

Lilly the tiger cub spent this fall as Massillon's latest live mascot. But once the season ended, and the 8-month-old cub's time in the spotlight was over, she was returned to Stump Hill Farm, the roadside zoo which bred her. 

Shortly after returning to Stump Hill, the young cub's paw became trapped in the fencing on her enclosure. She languished for hours, unable to free herself. Desperate, the cub began to gnaw her own foot off, sustaining injuries which required the amputation of her toe. Disfigurement of the paw can cause chronic pain for life - and Lilly was only 9 months old when she was injured.  

Just days later, Stump Hill was assessed for compliance with the Animal Welfare Act. According to USDA inspection reports, the owner of Stump Hill hid the injured tiger, denying that she even had a cub on the premises. After learning of Lilly's accident from a local veterinarian, inspectors questioned the owner again, only to be told that she had  "forgotten" the cub! The facility was cited for both the injury to Lilly and for lying to inspectors. 

Shockingly, Massillon's Superintendent of Schools, Rick Goodright, still insists on leasing baby tigers from Stump Hill - even after learning about Lilly's fate! In an interview, Goodright claimed that “it’s an experience that is not offered everywhere and something our people enjoy”. 

This story is heartbreaking, especially if no lessons have been learned from it. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to help ensure that no "Obie" is ever mistreated again. 

  • Sign and share other petitions asking Massillon to stop using live mascots. This one is very popular, and this one on Change.org will automatically send Massillon officials an email on your behalf. Don’t forget to share this campaign, too!    
  • Send an email. Rick Goodright, Massillon's Superintendent, can be reached at [email protected], and Matt Keller, Booster Club President, can be contacted at[email protected].Be polite - abusive language harms our campaign. You are encouraged to copy and paste the following text into your email:

"I am appalled to learn that the Massillon Tigers Booster Club is still planning to lease tiger cubs from Stump Hill Farm, even after one of the mascots was injured upon returning to the facility. As you are no doubt aware, Obie XLV sustained a crippling paw injury after getting caught in her enclosure. USDA inspectors believe that the desperate tiger chewed her own leg in an attempt to free herself, causing the amputation of a toe.

When Stump Hill was inspected for compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, the facilities’ owner lied about the injured animal, adding to a long list of AWA violations, including poor sanitation, unsafe enclosures, and housing tigers in cages too small for them. These facts make it clear that Stump Hill cannot be trusted with Obie, and that the USDA cannot be relied upon to keep your former mascots safe. 

I know that Massillon loves Obie and wants to do right by the cubs. The best way to protect them from harm is to stop leasing them as mascots. Every time you lease a cub, you encourage more tigers to be bred - and there are simply not enough appropriate facilities to take them all, sentencing many to a life of neglect and abuse. Please stop using live mascots - Massillon can live without them."


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