Illinois man charged with walking tiger through town

Lockport, Illinois has never been called a wild kind of place, but where else could you see a tiger walking through town?

“He was taking his tiger out for a walk,” Lockport Police Chief Terry Lemming said.

That’s essentially the charge against John Basile, who runs a ranch just outside of town. 

The ranch is really a jumble of cages where Basile keeps wolves, a bear and a tiger just behind his home.

“My concern really was for the people who frequented downtown area. This was at 7:30 night on a Sunday in an area that has a lot of people walking around,” Lemming said.

That’s where a witness shot video last Sunday.

“There were people in their cars shouting like ‘is that a tiger? Is that a tiger?’ Going over the Ninth Street Bridge,” one witness said.

A man and his tiger out on the town.

“He was thinking he didn’t do anything wrong. I think he was kind of drunk, though,” another witness said.

Earlier that evening Basile had been spotted inside a bar along with his tiger. The same bar where Basile’s tiger apparently bit a woman in December, although she never reported it.

“Well it surprised me there’s a tiger in the bar,” Lemming said.

Basile faces misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct, reckless conduct and possession of a dangerous animal.