Pennsylvania Town Denies a Permit to Keep a Cougar as a “Pet”

January 2003

A couple in Lower Towamensing Township, Pennsylvania, applied to their local zoning board for a permit to keep a cougar in their backyard. The couple planned to profit from the cougar by using her in television commercials.

We contacted the members of the zoning hearing board to provide them with information about the dangers of the private possession of big cats and to relay details about the horrid conditions that most exotic and dangerous animals kept as “pets” have to endure. We also contacted PETA members in the town and surrounding areas to ask that they contact the zoning hearing board and voice their objections at council meetings.

Several dozen area residents attended meetings to speak out against the potential danger to their children and the suffering that this cougar would endure in captivity. Acknowledging that a backyard cage is no life for an animal, the zoning board refused to grant the permit.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind