Owner surrenders pet cougar kept in New York City apartment

Animal welfare authorities in New York said a cougar is on its way to Arkansas after being surrendered by an owner who was keeping the 80-pound animal in a Bronx, N.Y., apartment.

The Humane Society of the United States, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York Police Department and the Bronx Zoo worked together to rescue the animal after the owner contacted authorities to say they could no longer care for the 11-month-old cougar.

Investigators said the owner had purchased the cougar as a cub from an out-of-state seller and recently decided to find a new home for the big cat once it started to show signs of aggression.

“Wildlife like cougars are not pets,” Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Basil Seggos said in a news release. “While cougars may look cute and cuddly when young, these animals can grow up to be unpredictable and dangerous.”

The cougar was taken to the Bronx Zoo temporarily and now is being transported to a new home at the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas.

“This cougar is relatively lucky that her owners recognized a wild cat is not fit to live in an apartment or any domestic environment,” aid Kelly Donithan, director of animal disaster response for the Humane Society of the United States.