Michael Schaus

A guy walks into a bar with a tiger… And, no, the guy in question is not Chuck Norris. (Although, if it was, I’m guessing no-one would say anything.) John Basile walked his Siberian tiger into a bar on the outskirts of Chicago, and promptly became the center of attention in a police investigation. In fact, the feline-friendly patron was charged with a misdemeanor and may face jail time as well as a monetary fine.

According to the Chicago Tribune:

John Basile, 57, owner-operator of the Big Run Wolf Ranch, located about three miles northeast of Lockport's downtown, was charged with reckless conduct and keeping a dangerous animal. He could be fined - even jailed - if found guilty of either misdemeanor.

Basile thought nothing of bringing a carnivorous member of the feline family into a bar while he imbibed in a little down-time. He even made mention of the fact that regulars at “Uncle Richie’s Place” know the cat and approve of the exotic pet. Apparently, however, police didn’t like the idea of Basile bringing his cat, named Shere Kahn into a public place. (Wait, his name is Shere Kahn?! From the Jungle Book? Shere Kahn was awesome… I think it was his voice: A cross between Dirty Harry and Bill Buckley.)

The Police Chief explained the obvious: that tigers shouldn't be in restaurants, regardless of whether or not they’re leashed. Of course, the Illinois police officer continued to explain that tigers or, apparently, any potentially dangerous creature (other than drunkards) should not be allowed in places that serve alcohol because "liquor alters their personalities and judgment.”

Wait… Were they serving the tiger an Old Fashioned? (‘Cause that’s kinda awesome.)

But it gets better: The police chief explained that guns are banned from bars "for the same reason we wouldn't want an animal that could hurt a person.” Ok… So leashing a carnivore, from an exotic corner of the earth, is the same thing as wandering into a bar with a loaded 1911? I see some differences. For example, I don’t know of any gun that thinks on its own. (Although, if anyone else knows of one – assuming the gun has a mild temperament – I’d love to know about it.)

Michael Schaus

Michael Schaus is communications director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute and is responsible for managing the organization’s messaging with the public, the media and NPRI’s membership.

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