Students at a private Catholic school in Miami will remember their wild prom night for the caged tiger.
The big cat was among a menagerie of exotic animals brought to amuse Christopher Columbus High School students at Friday night’s jungle-themed dance, but it had the opposite effect, according local reports.
Maria-Cris Castellanos, whose brother reportedly attends the elite school, decried the stunt as animal abuse, WTVJ-TV in Miami reported. She took her outrage online with footage of the stressed-out tiger pacing in its cramped cage amid pounding music, flashing lights and a performer juggling fire.
“How shameful for Christopher Columbus High school,” Castellanos wrote in a Facebook post, blaming staff at the all-boys school for the stunt.
“They are responsible for this tigers misery. Ask yourselves this,” she added. “Did this tiger ask to attend prom?”
Prom organizers also procured a lemur, two macaws and a fennec fox, according to the Miami Herald.
Miami Zoo spokesman Ron Magill told the paper that the tiger appeared to be distressed at the DoubleTree Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center event, an observation disputed by school officials.
The administration said the tiger’s appearance lasted mere minutes, while its handler and two Miami-Dade police officers kept watch.
“The animals were provided by facilities that are licensed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,” the school said in a statement to the Herald.
“The tiger, which was displayed for a few minutes in a cage was never harmed or in danger, was not forced to perform, was always accompanied by his handlers, and for the great majority of the time was lying down in a relaxed state facing away from the audience.”