NEW YORK (AP) – A man who pleaded guilty to keeping an alligator and a tiger in his apartment while children lived there was sentenced Thursday to five months in jail.

Antoine Yates, who pleaded guilty in July to reckless endangerment, told the judge he never intended to put anyone at risk and that the children were never in danger.

Judge Budd Goodman said he was disturbed by a presentencing report that described Yates, 36, as delusional about having a special gift for handling animals. Goodman also sentenced Yates to five years probation and told him to get a job and not to keep wild animals.

Prosecutor Jeremy Saland said witnesses’ reports and documents indicated Yates also may have kept a leopard and a panther in his home.

“There were even reports of a bear,” the prosecutor said.

Saland has said that at various times eight children lived in Yates’ Harlem apartment with him and his 69-year-old mother between April 2002 and January 2003 while animals were there.

Some of the children were relatives and some were foster children.

Saland said it was a miracle none of the children was harmed.

Yates’ lawyer, Raymond Colon, said his client committed no crime and objected to Saland’s listing of animals Yates reportedly kept.

Yates was arrested in October 2003 in Philadelphia, where he went for treatment of a deep bite on his right leg, inflicted by the 400-pound tiger, Ming.

The tiger is being kept at an animal sanctuary in Ohio; The alligator is at a sanctuary in Indiana.



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