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Owners Give Up On Keeping 80lb Cougar in Apartment

Ill-advised pet is leaving New York and on her way to a wildlife refuge
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2021 5:50 PM CDT
80lb Cougar Surrendered From NYC Apartment
This photo provided by New York's Bronx Zoo shows an 11-month-old, 80-pound cougar that was removed from an apartment, in the Bronx borough of New York, where she was being kept illegally as a pet, animal welfare officials said Monday.   (Courtesy of The Bronx Zoo via AP)

(Newser) – A big pet in a little New York City apartment is a challenge. It’s a pretty huge challenge when it’s an 80-pound wild animal. The owners of the pet in question, an 11-month-old cougar raised from a cub, surrendered the animal before anyone got hurt. The cougar, called Sasha, spent the weekend at the Bronx Zoo being looked over by vet staff, and then set off forTurpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas, PIX11 reports. Keeping a cougar as a pet is illegal, and the case is “currently under investigation” by the police, per the AP.

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Kelly Donithan of the Humane Society of the United States said in a statement that cougars belong in the wild. “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 said. And the director of the Bronx Zoo, Jim Breheny, warned people charmed by cute and cuddly looking baby cougars that keeping an animal like Sasha does nothing for conservation. The animals are miserable, and the owners are in danger. (Read more exotic animals stories.)

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