A Studio City man could face nearly three years in jail from criminal charges involving a tiger cub that appeared in a video by social media personality Logan Paul, officials announced Wednesday.
Nicholas Perkins, 32, was charged with two counts of illegal possession of a tiger and one count of mistreatment of a tiger. He was also charged with possession of anabolic steroids.
According to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, an anonymous tipster in October 2017 alerted the state Department of Fish and Wildlife about seeing a model pose with a cub on Instagram.
Officials identified Perkins and the animal through references made in the post, the City Attorney’s Office said. Investigators also determined that the defendant and the cub were featured on a YouTube video posted by Paul on Oct. 21, 2017, authorities added.
In the footage, which drew more than 8 million views, the cub is introduced to Paul’s small dog. Although none of them appears to get hurt, the two animals growl and chase each other while Paul and other individuals stand by apparently amused.
City Attorney Mike Feuer said he has “a very strong message” he wants to send with the case.
“Exotic animals, like a tiger, this is not a pet. This does not belong in your backyard. We need to be protecting. These animals are precious creatures, they’re not just to be handled this way.”
It’s unclear whether Perkins is among the men seen in the YouTube clip.
“I can’t discuss too much now, except we did discover evidence that suggested to us there had been mistreatment of the animal, and we’re going to be looking forward to proving our allegations in court.”
Paul previously made headlines after posting a video showing a dead body in Japan’s “suicide forest,” prompting YouTube to temporarily suspend ads on his channels in February.
Officials took the cub into custody during a search of Perkins’ home on Nov. 9, 2017, the City Attorney’s Office said. Authorities reported evidence that suggested poor living conditions for the animal, which Perkins allegedly fed with cub kitten milk replacement formula with a baby bottle.
Investigators also discovered anabolic steroids. The City Attorney’s Office did not provide further details surrounding the substance.
Prosecutors said the cub was taken to a large cat rescue and sanctuary facility in north L.A. County, where it has fully recovered. The City Attorney’s Office posted an image of the tiger on Wednesday, saying “Neil” was receiving care at an exotic animal training and management program at Moorpark College.
Perkins could be jailed for up to two years and six months and fined $4,000 if convicted as charged, the City Attorney’s Office said.
The defendant is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 10.