New York Police Seize Pet Cougar In Bronx Apartment

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge / Facebook

An 11-month-old, approximately 80-pound female cougar illegally living in an apartment in the Bronx of New York City was seized by authorities on August 30th.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), New York City Police Department (NYPD), and the Bronx Zoo, all worked together last week to remove the animal.

Kelly Donithan, director of animal disaster response for the Humane Society said they were the first to arrive on the scene to remove the big cat from the apartment and transported her to the Bronx Zoo.

The cougar, named Sasha by the owners, spent the weekend with veterinarians getting medically checked and then transported to the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas.

“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,” Kelly said, according to CWS News Room. “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.’”

Kelly added that the cougar was lucky to be rescued and the owners were lucky they recognized that keeping the big cat in the apartment was not a good idea and surrendered the animal before something bad happened.

“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,” Kelly said.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos added that while cougars “may look cute and cuddly when young, these animals can grow up to be unpredictable and dangerous.”