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Cougar Bites Social Worker
June 27, 2012 permalink
A pet cougar, toothless according to its owner, bit social worker Cindy Robson while she was conducting a home inspection in Ohio.
Pet cougar bites caseworker, perplexing police
The cougar had no teeth, she was told, but Cindy Robson still didn’t want to pet it.
The Licking County caseworker was at a Pataskala home on Monday evening to see whether it was safe for twin 3-year-old girls to live there, according to a police report. Robson knew the owners had exotic pets, and she had been instructed to see whether they were properly contained.
She watched as owner Evelyn Varney-Shaw stroked the large cat in her backyard. Shaw told her she could pet it, too.
“I did not pet the mountain lion,” Robson, 51, wrote in her police statement. “I simply ran my hand along the outside of the fence and it grabbed my left pinky finger and held on. I felt teeth ...”
Robson began to bleed. Shaw, an outspoken opponent of a new state law that regulates exotic-animal ownership, rushed for a bandage.
“I thought you said this thing did not have any teeth,” Robson recalled saying.
Shaw, 38, did not return calls and emails seeking comment yesterday. Earlier this year, she went to the Statehouse to rail against an exotic-animal bill introduced after Terry Thompson released about 50 of his lions, tigers, bears and other animals on Oct. 18 near Zanesville.
Thompson killed himself, and deputies killed nearly all of the loose animals.
Shaw told legislators in March that the proposed law — which ultimately passed — would force owners to euthanize their exotic pets or keep them illegally. The law bans future ownership of most exotic animals and requires current owners to obtain permits and liability insurance and ensure secure enclosures.
“This bill would either cause the death of my animals or force me to go from a law-abiding citizen to a criminal,” Shaw told lawmakers.
The law doesn’t go into effect until September, so Shaw’s pet cougar doesn’t need a permit or insurance yet. Neither do her other exotic pets, smaller cats called servals.
“We don’t really have any legal authority in the issue,” said Erica Pitchford, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which will issue the permits.
So the cougar bite had Pataskala police stumped. It didn’t appear Shaw did anything wrong, at least legally. Officers contacted the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to report the incident because they weren’t sure whom to call.
“We’re all kind of scratching our heads now,” said Police Chief Bruce Brooks.
It remains to be seen what Robson will do. She didn’t return calls, so her only words came from the police report, where she wrote that she fled Shaw’s home after a monkey in a cage lunged at her.
Shaw hopped in the car beside her, and the two drove to the hospital. Shaw apologized and said she didn’t want the twin girls, her nieces, to be put into foster care. Robson said Shaw’s husband called, angry that his wife let Robson get so close to the cougar.
Then he asked Mrs. Shaw why Robson was driving so fast.
“I told her to tell him (because) I was bleeding a lot,” Robson wrote.
Source: Columbus Dispatch
In a second article, cougar owner Evelyn Shaw offers to euthanize the animal. One advocate is suggesting a save the kitty campaign.
Pataskala Woman's Pet Mountain Lion Bites State Worker
Investigators said that a state worker was injured while inspecting a mountain lion's cage on Tuesday.
The caseworker was at the home of Evelyn Shaw, who was working to adopt her two young nieces, 10TV's Jason Frazer reported. The county worker said that Shaw claimed the lion posed no risk to the community nor did it pose a risk to her two three-year-old nieces she was trying to adopt.
According to police, Shaw told the county worker that the mountain lion's teeth had fallen out and that it was declawed. However, when the worker was inspecting the cage, she said the animal bit her pinky finger, Frazer reported.
Shaw accompanied the victim, who drove herself, to see a finger specialist at Mount Carmel East Hospital, in Columbus. Police said that Shaw apologized for the incident, who said that she did not want her nieces to be placed in foster care.
Shaw, who has been at the forefront of the fight against the recently signed exotic animal legislation, was not charged in the incident, Frazer reported. The victim said that Shaw told her she would euthanize the animal.