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Idaho refuses to extradite lion owners

POCATELLO -- A former Lava Hot Springs couple is free again after being arrested last week in Oregon for failing to begin jail terms for convictions in connection with the ramshackle animal farm they ran.

Oregon authorities released Dotti Martin, 60, and Robert Fieber, 60, because authorities in southeastern Idaho refused to institute costly extradition proceedings to bring them back to Pocatello to serve the misdemeanor sentences.The pair was arrested when Fieber appeared at the State Police office in Newport, Ore., after hearing authorities wanted to talk to him. A check found the outstanding Idaho warrant.

Fieber and Martin were convicted on 11 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and creating a public nuisance after dozens of lions escaped their Ligertown farm in 1995. Nineteen lions were shot to avoid endangering nearby residents.

Twenty-seven surviving lions were taken to Wildlife Waystation, a game preserve in California.