Most of us have been to a New Year’s Eve party. Those of us that can stay awake for it anyways. And occasionally, a few of those people find themselves in strange situations upon waking the next morning. For the residents living on Northwest 80th Terrace in Parkland, Florida, this past New Year’s day they received quite a shock. No, they weren’t all out partying until the sun rose. They weren’t indulging in debauchery the previous night–letting their “wild sides” escape (unconfirmed *wink, wink*). But at one of the homes, it was an extremely wild animal, A COUGAR, that escaped!
Sure enough, there was an escaped cougar simply sunning itself in a driveway!
But this wasn’t just a wild Florida panther, exploring the territory that was once their free roaming property. This cougar was wearing a collar. A (bleeping) black collar. Meaning that it was someone’s “pet”. Now, an escaped and “extremely dangerous” animal, according to state prosecutors.
As soon as she could move again, the woman called 911 to report the feline. Wildlife officers arrived at the home before the cat could attack anyone or run off.
The Miami Herald reported the findings from the Florida Wildlife Commission after the cat underwent a medical exam.
FWC spokesman Robert Klepper said the cat appeared to be in good health and weighs about 60 pounds.
It is less than a year old, so technically still a kitten, he said. Other than the collar, it had no other identifying marks, he said. No escaped wildlife have been reported in the area, he said, nor is anyone licensed to have a Florida panther located nearby.
With no way of knowing where the escaped cougar came from, no charges were brought about.
Happily, the big cat recovered quickly and has been settling into a new life at an unnamed sanctuary. But this scary “tail” wasn’t forgotten by the wildlife officials or the state prosecutors. Because then, fate and justice emerged from the shadows to join the party.
In early August, the news broke of just who the cougar belongs too–and apparently the neighbors weren’t surprised.
Tyrone Clinton Spong (born 3 September 1985) is a Surinamese-Dutch professional boxer and former kickboxer and mixed martial artist. He is the current WBC Latino Heavyweight Champion and WBO Latino Heavyweight Champion, and former WFCA Cruiserweight champion, Glory 95kg Slam Champion and It’s Showtime 95MAX World champion.
Spong has high fences, shelters and other livestock on his property. Having a wild cat seems to be the heavyweight prize in his “collection”. It’s a shame as his social media seemed to care greatly for animal life. Sadly, that’s questionable now.
So now they knew WHO was responsible for endangering the public while New Year’s resolutions and high hopes were still sprinkling down upon them like confetti.
And now he could be charged for his crimes. That consists of 23 charges that have now been filed against the athlete! They range across a variety of broken laws–for more than just his feline “pet”.
Among the charges against Spong are allowing the cougar to escape, keeping it without a permit, keeping it in too small a cage, not providing it with shelter, failing to provide it with toys or things to do, and failing to provide clean water for exotic birds.
Multiple news outlets reported that they reached out to Spong when the news broke. (Side note: are reporters REQUIRED to wear animal print when covering these news stories?!)
But as luck would have it, Tyrone claimned ignorance.
Fortunately that excuse doesn’t fly in the courts.
We are looking forward to seeing the animals rights enforced and him paying for his crimes. Hopefully he focuses on his cute goats and a life full of better decisions. Which for the already troubled boxer–after a recent fight cancellation due to a failed drug test–could be quite a bout. With EACH of the 23 charges, a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail can be enforced!
In reality though, that’s pretty much what it would cost to care for a wild cat for maybe a year? Just one more reason, they are not pets.
Let this be a lesson to all of those out there who think “owning” a wild animal, big cat or anything else, is a wise idea. It may just be you that cat is standing over one morning…waiting for breakfast in bed! *KARMA*
Please note the above photos of cougars from @buschwildlife ARE NOT the cougar in this story! They just do great work, are about an hour away from this location, and you should definitely follow them on social media too. It’s certainly possible they ARE where the beautiful beast now resides. But we couldn’t confirm our idealistic hopes.
REMEMBER: BIG CATS DON’T MAKE GOOD PETS; THEY BELONG IN THE WILD!