Officials Want to Prosecute Over Cougar’s Abuse
Animal welfare authorities are hunting for whoever left a young mountain lion in South-Central Los Angeles, saying the animal may be permanently crippled and its former keeper should face criminal charges.
The female cougar cub, turned over to Los Angeles Department of Animal Regulation officers in Van Nuys, was being treated Thursday at the Wildlife Waystation, a rehabilitation facility for exotic animals in Angeles National Forest above Lake View Terrace.
“She has muscle atrophy in her legs. She may never be able to walk right,” Wildlife Waystation Vice President Jan Brown said. “It’s pathetic. She obviously wasn’t able to turn around wherever she was kept.”
The emaciated 10-pound cub, dubbed Lucky by animal control officers, “looks like a 3-month-old animal, when in reality she is probably 6 months old,” said Martine Collette, the Wildlife Waystation’s president.
“She should be twice this size. We sincerely hope that her growth is not permanently stunted.”
Authorities were perplexed and frustrated in their efforts to find out where the animal came from. “If we can find the person or persons responsible for this animal’s condition, we will press criminal charges against them,” said Lt. Richard Felosky of the West Valley Animal Care and Control Center.
Lucky was found Wednesday by Felosky after the Wildlife Waystation received an anonymous phone tip that it was in a box outside a business in the 7800 block of Burnet Avenue in Van Nuys.
A man who worked at the business said “he found it that morning in a box at 51st and Figueroa streets” in South-Central Los Angeles and brought it to work with him, Felosky said. Investigators believe the man was telling the truth, Felosky said.
The animal was covered with sores, cuts and its own feces, he said.
“It was starved and it stunk to high heaven,” Felosky said. “It may not have lasted much longer.”
Lucky will stay at the Wildlife Waystation until a permanent home can be found for her.
“She is seriously cute, but she’s not cuddly,” Brown said. “She’s still a wild animal who is not crawling up in anyone’s lap--but that’s healthy.”