WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- An 80-pound cougar was removed from an apartment in New York City.
- Officials say she was being kept illegaly as a pet.
- The 11-month-old cougar, nicknamed Sasha, now resides at the Turpentine Creek WIldlife Refuge in Arkansas.
But the lease says “cats allowed!”
Officials recently removed an 80-pound cougar from a New York City apartment, where she was being kept illegally as a pet.
The 11-month-old cougar, AKA Sasha, spent a few days at the Bronx zoo receiving veterinary care before heading to the Turpentine Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas.
The Humane Society teamed with zoo officials, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York Police Department on the big cat’s relocation.
“I’ve never seen a cougar in the wild, but I’ve seen them on leashes, smashed into cages, and crying for their mothers when breeders rip them away,” said Kelly Donithan, director of animal disaster response for the Humane Society of the United States. “I’ve also seen the heartbreak of owners, like in this case, after being sold not just a wild animal, but a false dream that they could make a good ‘pet.'”
“The owner’s tears and nervous chirps from the cougar as we drove her away painfully drives home the many victims of this horrendous trade and myth that wild animals belong anywhere but the wild,” Donithan added.
Bronx Zoo director Jim Breheny said exotic pet dealers do not contribute to the conservation of endangered species.
“These animals often end up in very bad situations, kept by private individuals who don’t have the resources, facilities, knowledge, or expertise to provide for the animals’ most basic needs,” Breheny said. “In addition to these welfare concerns for the animals, the keeping of big cats by private people poses a real safety hazard to the owner, the owner’s family, and the community at large.”