Several weeks ago Darnell Dockett tweeted about his new tiger, Buddy, and how he would try to bring his pet to training camp.
As you can imagine, PETA was not too happy with the Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle's plan.
The animal rights organization issued a statement condemning Dockett, 32, and urging wildlife authorities to look into whether he actually brought Buddy with him across state lines. Because if Dockett purchased the 60-pound tiger in Florida and took him to Arizona without a permit, that would be illegal.
Dockett is very familiar with PETA, which went public with its disapproval of Dockett's decision to buy an alligator several years ago.
This time around, Dockett has been more tight-lipped about the whereabouts of Buddy.
"I cannot tell y'all everything about that as far as legal reasons," Dockett told reporters at Cardinals camp when asked about his tiger. "That company with the four-letter word? We’re going to keep them out of this. But yes, for everybody, I do have a tiger.”
Unfortunately it's too late, and the "company with the four-letter word" has gotten involved. PETA asked the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to investigate whether Dockett actually brought the tiger across state lines. It even appealed to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
"We're also asking Arizona's Game and Fish Department to get involved because state law requires a permit for possession of a tiger, and if Dockett took the tiger to training camp, he also violated a law that prohibits handling a wild animal in a manner that is dangerous to the public.
PETA not get involved? Hardly."
Dockett, clearly unhappy with PETA, sent out this tweet recently:
http://t.co/6Qm9L5ogX2 From July 1998 through the end of 2012, PETA has killed more than 29,000 dogs and cats! Hmmm that's weird!
— DARNELL DOCKETT (@ddockett) August 1, 2013
The figure of 29,000 that Dockett cites comes from a battle between PETA and another animals rights group called the No Kill Advocacy Center. The director for No Kill Advocacy wrote a column in the Huffington Post that was critical of PETA's euthanasia policy and he used a wide range of statistics including the 29,000 dogs and cats killed. But president and co-founder of PETA Ingrid Newkirk wrote a rebuttal, saying many other shelters often reject injured, sick or dying animals. Those are then brought to PETA, which then "bears the veterinary or euthanasia costs."
It's unclear whether Dockett brought the tiger with him across state lines. He had tweeted that he showed the animal to a security guard at Cardinals training camp, but later he sent out this photo, which suggests that he does not have Buddy with him in Arizona:
— DARNELL DOCKETT (@ddockett) July 30, 2013
If Dockett is found to have violated wildlife laws, he could be facing the removal of Buddy and perhaps even jail time. Dockett was recently given two practices off at Cardinals camp for "personal reasons," but reports indicate that his absence is not related to the PETA embroglio.
This saga is just another bizarre storyline in Dockett's strange year. In January Dockett received some publicity for his outlandish tweets at Katherine Webb during the BCS championship game. Later he and Webb's boyfriend, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, became embroiled in a lengthy Twitter feud.