Local News

Father Gets Probation, Stern Lecture for Tiger Attack on Son

Posted February 7, 1996

— February 8, 1996 - 5:45 p.m. EST

WRAL-TV5 News Audio File:

  • Phil Redwine, lawyer for Mark Forsythe (pictured at left), talks about the recovery of Tyler Forsythe. Listen toaufile.
  • Judge Don Overby had harsh words for Mark Forsythe. Listen toaufile.

    A Wake County man was given a suspended sentence and a stern lecture Thursday in connection with the Thanksgiving Day mauling of his 3-year-old son by the family's pet Bengal tiger.

    Mark Forsythe pleaded guilty in Wake County District Court to one count of misdemeanor child abuse. Judge Don Overby sentenced Forsythe to a 45-day jail term, which was suspended, and placed him on probation for five years. Forsythe also must pay a $100 fine and perform 100 hours of community service.

    Overby's sentence also prohibits Forsythe from owning an exotic animals. Not even a parakeet, the judge said.

    Forsythe was walking his 350-pound tiger on a leash Thanksgiving Day when it attacked his son, Tyler. One side of the boy's head was partially crushed during the attack, exposing the brain, hospital officials. The boy spent considerable time in the hospital, but he is now at home.

    The de-clawed tiger was purchased at a Goldsboro pet store by the boy's father. Forsythe and police shot and killed the tiger not long after the attack.

    The federal government fined the store for bringing the animal across state lines.

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