A tiger walks into a bar, and Illinois police don't get the punch line

LOCKPORT, Ill. -- A man set himself up for a joke when he took a tiger into a suburban Chicago bar, and didn't expect charges to follow.

John Basile took his tiger cub for a walk through Lockport's downtown streets, Sunday evening at about 7:30. It turned quite a few heads, including those of police officers.

People shouted from their cars, questioning if they really saw a tiger in downtown Lockport, crossing the Ninth Street Bridge. Nobody thought Basile did anything wrong, although some who saw him thought he may have been intoxicated.

As CNN reporter Derrick Blakley said, Basile was seen in Uncle Ritchie's Bar, with his tiger by his side. Although it was never reported, that tiger bit a woman inside the bar in December.

"My concern was really for the people who frequented downtown area," Lockport Police Chief Terry Lemming. "This was 7:30 on a Sunday, in an area that has a lot of people walking around."

Basile was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, reckless conduct and possession of a dangerous animal.

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