Animal News

USDA busts white tiger operation in Kaufman found doing illegal shows

USDA busts white tiger operation in Kaufman found doing illegal shows

royal White Tiger discovery
The tigers are cooped up in a small enclosure. Courtesy photo

A Texas woman trying to do an illegal tiger show was caught by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is being ordered to shut down her business.

On March 21, 2021, Lisa Lopez, who is based in Kaufman, brought two white tigers to the "Faux Real Trade Days," a flea market that takes place every month at the Trinity Valley Exposition Fairgrounds in Liberty, located halfway between Houston and Beaumont.

Under the name "The Royal White Tiger Discovery," Lopez sold photo opportunities with the tigers, whom she hauls around the country, confined in small travel trailers, despite the fact that she and her company, All Things Wild, do not have an active USDA license to exhibit. Her last application for a license was denied in 2017.

The tigers are kept on a property in Kaufman owned by Lopez's business partner Marcus Cook.

Cook doesn't have a license, either: His license to exhibit tigers was revoked permanently in 2012. He was charged with nearly 100 federal Animal Welfare Act violations for actions that include using an electric prod on a tiger and handling methods that resulted in a tiger cub biting a member of the public.

Liberty city officials say that Lopez and Cook were trying to use someone else's license as their own: the license of yet a third exhibitor, Michael Todd. But the jig was up after he lost his license in 2020 for partnering with Cook.

That said, Faux Real Trade Days is no picnic. It regularly hosts another unfortunate creature called Oliver the Watusi, an African steer with longhorns, whose owners charge $10 to $15 for a photo.

According to a release, the USDA was tipped off to the illegal tiger display by PETA. Lopez received a citation and was ordered to shut it down.

Tigers have been in the news in Texas, most recently when a young tiger, India, got loose in Houston. He's since been relocated to the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in North Texas.

PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler says that Lopez has a long history of breaking the law.

"No stranger to skirting law enforcement, this menacing menagerie drags along an extensive rap sheet wherever it travels," Metzler says. "PETA urges kind people to avoid the tawdry tiger shows at flea markets—and everywhere else."