Pet cougar found living in NYC home

Mountain lion in the Bronx A family in the Bronx surrendered a cougar that they were keeping as a pet. The cat was taken to an animal sanctuary. NEW YORK – An 80-pound cougar was removed from a Bronx home and is now headed to an out-of-state animal sanctuary. Crews […]

An 80-pound cougar was removed from a Bronx home and is now headed to an out-of-state animal sanctuary.

Crews were called to a private home in the Bronx on Thursday.  They found the 11-month-old female cougar inside the home.

“I think it was her size and increasing aggression,” Humane Society Director of Animal Disaster Response Kelly Donithan said.

The big cat was transported to the Bronx Zoo to be cared for by veterinarians and animal care staff over the weekend.  On Monday she was transported to an Arkansas animal sanctuary called Turpentine Creek.

The case is currently under investigation according to Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.

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“Wildlife like cougars are not pets,” said NYSDEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “While cougars may look cute and cuddly when young, these animals can grow up to be unpredictable and dangerous.”

NYC pet cougar surrendered, August 2021

Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo and executive vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society Zoos & Aquarium, said, “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. 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.”

The Humane Society of the United States helped facilitate the removal of a cougar from a NYC home on Aug 26. She stayed at the Bronx Zoo for a few days until her transport on Aug 30 to a sanctuary in Arkansas.

New York has long seen cases involving dangerous animals in private residences that threaten public safety.

In 2003, the NYPD removed an adult tiger from a Harlem apartment and in 2004 a child in Suffolk County was attacked by his father’s pet leopard.

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