Group Denounces School's Use Of Tiger Mascots

MASSILLON, Ohio (AP) - An animal rights group has criticized the use of a tiger cub mascot at Massillon Washington High School's football games.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wrote Superintendent Al Hennon on Monday asking that the district stop using tiger cubs from a local farm for display at games.

Hennon rejected the idea and said the mascot is treated well.

"He is held in high esteem around here," he said.

This year's mascot, a 12-week-old female tiger cub, was picked up Monday from Stump Hill Farm. During her stay, "Obie" will bunk at the homes of three caretakers, all team boosters.

While PETA believes public appearances are stressful for the tiger, the organization does not object to bulldog mascots at Massillon's archrival, Canton McKinley, said Amy Rhodes, the Norfolk, Va.-based group's animals in entertainment specialist.

She said the bulldog probably enjoys the attention at McKinley and said the stress on an exotic animal is different.

Massillon Washington has one of the most respected football programs in the state. Paul Brown coached the Tigers before leading Ohio State and the Cleveland Browns. Because of the northeast Ohio city's love for the sport, a baby boy born in Massillon gets a football placed in his bassinet.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)