Tiger cub
Tourists were allowed to swim with tiger cubs at Dade City's zoo (file photo). Getty

A Florida zoo has been ordered to end an attraction that allows tourists to go swimming with tiger cubs.

Dade City's Wild Things has been charging visitors $200 (£164) to swim with tiger cubs, a practice that was deemed to have broken the law by putting people in danger on four separate occasions between September 2011 and October 2012.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) made the order, also instructing the zoo to pay a fine of $21,000 (£17,250) for exposing the tigers to "rough or excessive handling", The Tampa Bay Times reports.

The zoo was also found to have allowed the tigers to be harmed during handling, another breach of the law, after the USDA filed a lawsuit against the zoo in July 2015, claiming there were violations of the Animal Welfare Act taking place.

The zoo, owned by Kathy and Randy Stearn, had also previously come under fire for its swimming attraction, with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) launching a petition to stop the practice and eventually filing a lawsuit - which is still pending - alleging the zoo was in violation of the endangered species act.

Brittany Peet of PETA told the Times: "We're pleased that the USDA clamped down on this most egregious violator of animal-welfare law, knowing that Dade City's Wild Things has been making money by forcing distressed tiger cubs into swimming pools for customer photos.

"PETA looks forward to proving in court its allegations that Dade City's Wild Things is harming and harassing these endangered animals."