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Magician alters plans for tigers in Las Vegas show proposal

tiger tent rendering
Posted at 1:49 PM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 22:04:08-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Magician Jay Owenhouse is altering an application with Clark County to exclude animals from a proposed magic show featuring tigers.

Commissioners on Wednesday were scheduled to consider the proposal, which called for the tigers to be housed in a temperature-controlled enclosure near Paradise Road and Convention Center Drive.

RELATED: Clark County to discuss possible tiger show near Las Vegas Strip

But on Tuesday, Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom wrote there will be no tiger show in a certain district in the county.

And according to a county spokesperson, the applicant said they will be withdrawing their request to have tigers as part of their application.

Previously, Owenhouse proposed a magic show featuring three tigers near the Las Vegas Strip on land across from Mandalay Bay.

It it drew criticism from animal rescuers and activists.

RELATED: Traveling illusionist takes second stab at plan to house performing tigers just off Las Vegas Strip

"It just cheapens the Strip, to put up a plastic tent with a sideshow. That's how it's perceived. What are we doing?" said animal welfare advocate Linda Faso in July 2020.

Despite public outcry, county commissioners granted Owenhouse approval but the show wasn't able to go on after the land fell into foreclosure.

Of his decision to withdraw the tigers from the current proposal, Owenhouse said:

"I ask the public to remember that all seven commissioners unanimously approved of our show, with the tigers, in July 2020 at its original location. The second time around, I understand that the location near Sahara Ave. raised concerns for county planning staff, as it did for Commissioner Segerblom. After dissecting it, I know the commission didn't feel confident it was the right location. We respect that.

"We are not a tiger show. We're a world-class magic show that's about our family and tigers are part of our family. We wanted to include them in the show here because it impacts people in an amazing way. If that part of our family has to sit out for this residency, then we are disappointed but we're still excited about the show.

"It's sad we can't share our tigers with people but that's never been the focus of our show. It's become the focus through controversy. We will always explore options to bring them back."

RELATED: Animal advocates call tiger tent show on the Las Vegas Strip a 'tale of big money

Currently, the application, minus the tigers, is expected to be heard during a County Zoning Commission meeting on Feb. 2.

Owenhouse hopes the magic show will debut this Spring.

Jeff Dixon, Nevada State Director for the Humane Society of the United States issued a statement saying:

"Our local exotics ordinance was intended to exclude acts like his, and local animal advocates played a key role in blocking Mr. Owenhouse's path to approval.

"We hope that he will leave tigers out of his magic shows for good."

A statement from PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews was also released on Tuesday:

"After PETA, CompassionWorks International, and a groundswell of local residents roared that tigers aren’t magic-show props, this beleaguered exhibitor realized that his application to exploit big cats was doomed. Today’s news that big cats won’t be confined to metal cages in the Nevada desert is helping 2022 begin on a high note."