On Thursday, March 25th, at 9pm EST/PST (8pm Central),
Animal Planet TV will broadcast the documentary
The Tiger Next Door, which will be available on DVD from
First Run Features beginning April 20th. Watch the trailer now.
The Tiger Next Door tells the story of a man named Dennis Hill who has been breeding and selling tigers out of his backyard in Flat Rock, Indiana for over fifteen years. When the film begins Hill has 24 tigers, 3 bears, 6 leopards, and one cougar, and he faces an inspection by the local Department of Natural Resources that may shut him down for good. As Hill fights to hold on to his tigers over the days and months that follow, The Tiger Next Door follows him – exploring his motives, his past, and the curious, ethically-murky world he’s created in his backyard. The film also travels far beyond Hill's animal compound, introducing a shocking array of news stories about tiger situations gone wrong around the country, and revealing the alarming statistic that there are more tigers in private captivity in the U.S. than there are in the wild in the world.
All of which raises the question — What do we want our relationship with wild animals to be, as the wild disappears? Under what circumstances is it okay to keep large wild animals captive?
This film and the topic of wild animals in captivity are highly relevant and timely, in light of recent news stories about:
-- a trainer killed by a 12,300lb whale at SeaWorld (Feb, 2010)
-- a man killed by his “pet” tiger in Ontario, Canada (Jan, 2010)
-- a woman killed by her “pet” bear in Pennsylvania (Oct, 2009)
-- the story from last winter (Feb 2009) of the Connecticut woman who was brutally mauled by her neighbor’s 200 pound “pet” chimpanzee,
-- and the story of the tiger escape and mauling of a teenager at the San Francisco Zoo (Dec 2007).
These are only the latest in a long list of problematic stories of captive bred wild animals gone “bad.” Incidents like these raise difficult ethical questions and important sociological issues for people and animals that are addressed in The Tiger Next Door.
I would like to offer you a chance to see the film, use footage attained through 6 years of research, and perhaps interview the filmmaker and some of those who have worked closely on this issue. See below for details.
Please do be in touch to express your interest and receive a screener.
First Run Features