No tiger in Bolton, officials say

A rumor that had Bolton residents locking their doors and counting their chickens turned out to be false Wednesday.

“We have no tiger in Bolton,” said Mayor Shawn Maynor. “That’s official. We do not have a tiger in the town.”

Rumors began flying earlier this week about a Bengal tiger being kept in a home undergoing repairs in Bolton. Columbus County Animal Control was called after the town staff received numerous complaints about the mysterious cat. Columbus County specifically bans large cats in its exotic animal ordinance.

After Animal Control officers visited the residence where the cat was supposedly being kept, they found no evidence of anything more dangerous than a wild rumor, Maynor said.

Tigers-world.com, an online clearinghouse of tiger research, says that as many as 10,000 tigers may be in captivity worldwide, but only 2,500 are known to exist in the wild. The cats can weigh up to 725 pounds, according to the website. Bengal and Bengal-cross tigers are occasionally kept as exotic pets.