Ripley's museum wants Clearwater tiger's hairball - WNCN: News, Weather

Ripley's museum wants Clearwater tiger's hairball

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Vernon Yates stores the hairball in his freezer Vernon Yates stores the hairball in his freezer
Hairball after it was taken out of Ty the tiger. Hairball after it was taken out of Ty the tiger.
Ty on the mend Ty on the mend
Ty relaxing Ty relaxing
X-Ray of hairball X-Ray of hairball
CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) -

Representatives from Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museums want to get their hands on the 4 pound hairball that was taken out of a tiger's stomach in Clearwater. They were even willing to pay for it.

On May 22 a 400 pound tiger named Ty had the procedure done to remove the hairball after his owner noticed he was not eating and was very lethargic. Vernon Yates, operator of a non-profit Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation center and Ty's owner, said that he was approached by Ripley's about buying the hairball. 

Yates said, "I would donate it to them as long as the names of the doctors who removed the hairball went on a plaque next to the display." 

"It was only right to include the doctor's names because we should give credit where credit is due," he added. 

Ty was seen by Dr. Brian Luria, an internal medicine specialist. Luria performed an ultrasound and took X-rays before using a scope with a camera to determine the problem. 

Luria discovered what appeared to be a giant hairball in Ty's stomach. Due to the size of the hairball, it was not possible to retrieve the obstruction using the scope, and surgery was selected as the preferred method.

Dr. Brian Luria and Dr. Mike Reems assisted Dr. Don Woodman from an animal hospital in Safety Harbor with the surgery last Wednesday at a specialized animal center in Clearwater.

Luria, Woodman and Reems successfully removed the hairball, which weighed in at a little over 4 pounds.

"I'm just extremely thankful for the help Dr. Woodman, Dr. Reems and his staff provided," said Vernon Yates, founder of Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Inc., the organization that takes care of Ty.

The organization was founded in 1980 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that assists Florida law enforcement with animals that have been seized.

Yates and Woodman are perhaps best known for being asked by the state of Florida to assist with capturing the Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay, a rhesus macaque who roamed the Tampa Bay area for nearly four years before being caught.

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