Cougar being kept as a ‘pet’ removed from NYC home

NEW YORK CITY — A joint effort has led to the removal of an 11-month-old, 80 pounds cougar from a New York City home Thursday night.

Wildlife Conservation Society

Photo courtesy: Wildlife Conservation Society

The cougar was surrendered to officials, who coordinated its safe relocation to the Bronx Zoo, and ultimately to an Arkansas animal santucary.

Kelly Donithan, director of animal disaster response for the Humane Society of the United States says it heartbreaking for the big cats, as well as their would-be owners in situations like this.

“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. 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.’ This cougar is relatively lucky that her owners recognized a wild cat is not fit to live in an apartment or any domestic environment. 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. We are thankful to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and everyone who was involved in dealing with this complex situation for helping make this rescue possible,” Donithan said.

You can read the full news release the from Wildlife Conservation Society here.

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