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Students, Parents Upset With Caged Tiger At Prom

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Things got a little wild at one high school prom and some students, and their parents, are not very happy about it.

Christopher Columbus High's big night at the Double Tree Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center on Friday had a jungle theme.

Staff and student organizers spruced up the room with jungle themed decorations and made arrangements for several animals to be brought in. Among them was a tiger in a cage.

This angered some who said it was animal abuse for the sake of entertainment.

Student Marie Christine Castellanos' brother attended the prom.

"My reaction was who got down on one knee and invited this tiger the prom," she said.

Castellanos posted on her Facebook page "How shameful for Christopher Columbus High school ...showing its students on prom night who is the "king of the jungle " this poor tiger was used as an EXOTIC amusement for the mindless teenagers who were present."

Castellanos and her family are long time animal rights activists who say this act was abuse. They said the fire juggler act which brought out the tiger was in poor taste.

"Tigers are wild animals. They don't need to be displayed as objects for our amusement. They don't like the fire, the cages, the music, the teenagers with the cameras, they didn't ask for that, they don't have voices," she told CBS4's Joan Murray.

Castellanos faults the school staff who arranged for the animals to be brought in.

Christopher Columbus High put out a statement addressing the situation. It read in part:

"...several animals were displayed in a very controlled situation, including a Lemur, two Macaws, an African Fennec Fox, and a Tiger. Two Miami-Dade Police officers were present the entire time. The animals were provided by facilities that are licensed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The tiger, which was displayed for a few minutes in a cage was never harmed or in danger, was not forced to perform, was always accompanied by his handlers, and for the great majority of the time was lying down in a relaxed state facing away from the audience."

The school said the hotel approved the tiger appearance.

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