Catching a Detroit Tiger by the Tail…with a Weed Whacker??

Photo:  Andy Didorosi   Special to The Detroit Free Press
Photo: Andy Didorosi Special to The Detroit Free Press

*Having been born and raised in Detroit, I’ve seen Tigers many times at the original Tiger Stadium, and more recently at the newer, beautiful Comerica Park.

But it’s not often you see an actual tiger loose in the Motor City…let alone with two wolves and a bobcat. And would ya believe the critters were corralled with a weed whacker??

Blame it on those crazy Brits, or one Brit in particular, photographer David Yarrow. According to The Detroit Free Press, Yarrow recently booked a photo shoot at the city’s historic Packard Plant. He reportedly didn’t get approval to have the wild animals on-site, however, and the animals, trainers, and photographers were promptly escorted out about an hour after pictures of the animals amid the rubble of the historic plant showed up online.

So where did the weed whacker come into play? Well, sometime before the animals were marched out, the tiger got loose and took up residence on a fourth-story staircase.

“I got a call from a friend who asked me to help them get this tiger out of a staircase,” said Detroit’s Andy Didorosi, 28. “He asked me if I had a leaf blower, and I said I had a weed whacker, so he told me to bring that. …I stopped what I was doing, grabbed my tools and hopped in my truck…I don’t know much about tiger logistics…”


“…but we were told to be this huge blue tarp monster with the weed whacker and try to be scary and make loud noises.  That just made him angry. You could say he got tiger rage, so we retreated.”

“Tiger rage.” I swear I’m not making this up.

Bringing wild animals into the city of Detroit without permission violates Section 6-1-3 (a) of the city’s ordinances, which says, “It shall be unlawful for a person to own, harbor, keep or maintain, sell, or transfer any farm animal, or any wild animal, on their premises or at a public place within the city” other than for circuses, zoos, or laboratories.”   According to Kari Smith, project manager for the Packard Plant Project, the photo shoot was clearly in violation of that ordinance.

“We arranged for a photography group of HUMANS to be on site for two days,” Smith said. “We never approved any animals being on the site…and the shoot was cancelled. This is nothing we signed on for.”

Didorosi said that the local crew helping with the shoot had been told only that “models” were going to be used. Then, he says, “this big ‘Jurassic Park’-like trailer shows up with all of these wild animals.”

“People think it’s OK to bring super dangerous animals into the city without alerting authorities because they think people don’t care,” he continued, “because they think [Detroit is] a cesspool and that they can do whatever [they] want. That is not cool.”

This article was written by Michael P. Coleman, a Sacramento-based freelance writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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