Lynx owner is ordered by the court to get rid of animal
Jaime Malarkey, The Examiner
Jun 14, 2006 7:00 AM (1 hr 23 mins ago)
Baltimore County – Baltimore County’s highest appellate board Tuesday voted to force a Kingsville resident to get rid of the wild cat he’s grown to love over the past year.
Daniel Vitilio, who built an ultra-enforced cage on his ranch to contain his Siberian lynx Puddy, said he plans to take the ruling — which upheld a previous vote from the county’s animal control board — to Circuit Court.
“I’m disgusted; just ill,” said Vitilio, who also keeps peacocks, bison, goats, a pig, miniature horses and several exotic birds in his back-yard private zoo, after Tuesday’s hearing. “We just don’t know what’s going to happen to Puddy.”
At the center of the case is a dispute over whether or not assistant animal control supervisor Sewell Price gave Vitilio the go-ahead to get the cat from a local wildlife shop before a formal permit was secured.
Vitilio also said a county inspector visited his ranch, which he opens to church groups and disabled children, to make sure the cage was secure.
The county cashed his check for a permit after he faxed a copy of his federal approval to have the lynx, Vitilio said.
But animal control supervisor Charlotte Crenson-Murrow and Price denied the claim, according to Tuesday’s deliberation.
In written testimony, Crenson-Murrow said the lynx poses a public threat because there is no proven rabies vaccine.
The lynx can grow to 90 pounds and can kill prey up to three times its size, she said.
Board member Edward Crizer said, “We are concerned about the rabies vaccination and even if the cage is escape-proof, one never knows.”
Both Crenson-Murrow and Price, who sat in on deliberations, declined comment.
Vitilio said he worries he will have to put Puddy down if his court case is unsuccessful.
Wild-cat sanctuaries across the nation are overflowing, according to Carole Baskin, executive of the Florida-based Big Cat Rescue.
Baskin said more than 224 humans have been mauled — and 66 killed — by captive big cats since 1990.
“The fact is that these animals shouldn’t be in private hands, period,” she said.
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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