WYLIE (CBSDFW.COM) – Twelve-year-old Kiro is a big cat; a really big cat. The full size white Siberian tiger lives in Collin County.
“Come here,” coos Vicky Keahey. “I’m told they all know my voice.”
Keahey runs In-Sync Exotics, a big cat sanctuary where Kiro lives in Wylie.
She opened it 12 years ago after bonding with several abandoned cougars while working at a vet’s clinic.
“It was kind of a decision I feel was made by God, and I obeyed,” she said.
Since then she’s come across many cases involving what she considers irresponsible private owners. She took in a 7-year-old lion, Aramis, after he was found living in filthy conditions with no water in the Kaufman County town of Poetry.
Keahey says previous owners had him declawed and he’d broken all his canines trying to chew through his cage.
A tigress, Kshama, came to her, after friends saw the cub advertised in a local newspaper for $1200.
“Exotic cats – tigers, lions, and cheetahs – are God’s most magnificent creation, and I think they should be respected. And, they’re not, they’re not.”
As close as she is to the animals, though, Keahey says she never forgets they’re dangerous.
All her cats are kept behind at least two layers of chain link fence and two locked gates.
David Robinson and his children live about a mile down the road and aren’t too worried.
“I never really thought about it, cause it’s been there. It’s just like having the lake across the street – what if it floods?” asked Robinson.
Keahey says she can’t guarantee a cat won’t one day get loose, but she’s not about to let her guard down.
“I’m not gonna say it can’t happen here because I feel like it can happen anywhere,” she said.