What a wild year for animals in the Garden State!

A bear surprises a cable guy in Sussex County; a sex-crazed deer goes on a Rowan University rampage; two flying squirrels land in a Rahway hospital building; and alligators are found swimming around Gloucester and Atlantic counties.

Wild turkeys, meanwhile, are all over the place. And today, following the recently concluded, state-sanctioned harvest/slaughter of at least 469 black bears, the legislature takes up a pathbreaking bill to protect New Jersey's tigers.

The measure's Senate sponsor, Union County Democrat Ray Lesniak, estimates there are "a few dozen" pet tigers statewide; his bill -- under consideration in lame-duck session -- would require owners to register them with the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Perhaps the state should consider strengthening regulations on private zoos: In October, two giraffes and 15 parrots died during a fire at Animal Kingdom in Burlington County.

That wasn't the only animal calamity in New Jersey this year. October's freak snowstorm destroyed pens at a Warren County pheasant farm, enabling perhaps 15,000 of the 55,000 birds to escape.

On a happier note, a beagle named Daniel who made headlines as a "miracle dog" – he survived a mass euthanization (aka, asphyxiation) in Alabama – found a new home.

In Nutley, New Jersey.