mxp tiger in bar_00001012.jpg
So a tiger walks into a bar ...
00:44 - Source: HLN

Story highlights

After a man took a tiger cub to a bar, police filed misdemeanor charges

The cub has reportedly bitten someone in the bar before

John Basile, the cub's owner, runs an animal rescue

CNN  — 

Time to think up one of those “a man walked into a bar” jokes.

Because in a Chicago suburb, a man walked into a bar with a tiger recently.

That’s right, a real tiger cub – a fluffy baby about knee-high. And it apparently wasn’t the first time.

John Basile has taken the tiger cub to Uncle Richie’s Bar in Lockport, Illinois, at least one other time, reported CNN affiliate WBBM.

Police didn’t think it was funny and have filed charges against Basile from disorderly conduct to possession of a dangerous animal for the latest incident.

“My concern was really for the people who frequent the downtown area,” Lockport Police Chief Terry Lemming the affiliate.

The charges are all misdemeanors.

Not the first time

As Basile trotted the tiger cub down the street on February 15, it caused some rubbernecking. Some people seemed to think it was adorable.

“There were people in their cars shouting like, ‘Is that a tiger? Is that a tiger?’ going over the Ninth Street Bridge,” Frances Escoe told the affiliate.

At least one man took a video.

Not everyone at the bar thought the tiger was cute. During a previous visit, the cub reportedly bit a guest.

“While we were looking into possible charges, officers spoke with a woman who claimed the tiger bit her in Uncle Ritchie’s on Dec. 14, 2013,” Lemming told the Joliet Herald-News, a local newspaper.

Running a ranch

Basile, 57, has a familiarity and trust with predators and other wild animals that most people don’t.

He has handled them for 25 years, he says on his website for the animal rescue he runs.

It’s called Big Run Wolf Ranch and is federally licensed, he says.

Basile sports photos of himself cuddling and wrestling with a full grown black bear and links to photos, in which he is handling snakes and wolves.

On one of the photos is a Siberian tiger cub named Shere Khan.

He holds open houses to show the animals to visitors and to teach them about nature, he says.

The affiliate reached out to Big Run for comment, but an employee declined.

Why did the elephant cross the road? To avoid the drunks