The cougar, Charlie, which was in a special section of its enclosure during a morning feeding, broke out of the wired cage and bit the dog. The bite to the head killed the dog, Fester. Charlie remained near the enclosure until Gard, 73, led it into a barn by a rope leash attached to his collar. “What if that had been a child that wandered onto the property? Nobody should be allowed to own big cats as pets, their not meant to be pets, they are wild animals… its just an accident waiting to happen!”
An investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission showed that because the incident took place at Gard’s residence and the dog agitated the cougar, Charlie was not at fault.
“The enclosure met and exceeded present state standards for that type of animal,” Gary Morse of FWC said. Since the incident on May 27, Charlie’s enclosure has been reinforced. Gard also holds the proper license to own the cougar.