Mountain lion evicted from apartment
posted by: Sara Gandy Web Producer email@example.com
Created: 5/16/2006 1:52 PM MST - Updated: 5/16/2006 5:07 PM MST
Michael Haney visits his 15-month-old lion at the Arkadelphia Animal Shelter in Arkansas after he had to give her up. May 16, 2006.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The mountain lion was taken from a man who was keeping it as a pet.
Owner Michael Haney was forced to turn over his pet mountain lion to an animal shelter in Arkansas. May 16, 2006.
The cat was a concern to authorities because it was just a block away from an elementary school.
A mountain lion is not something you'd typically see at the animal shelter in Arkadelphia. Sanitation Superintendent Donny Manning says the facility mainly deals with dogs.
He says, "We've had some geese, wild geese, we had ducks, goats, Vietnamese potbelly pigs, but we never had a lion, no."
However, Kiara has been there far nearly a week.
"Now, we've got it out, walking it around, petting and playing with it," says Manning. "We've warmed up to it and we're not afraid of it. It's just a big baby."
The big cat belongs to Michael Haney. He's had the 15-month-old lion since it was just five days old.
He says, "I love the cat. It's probably the greatest love of my whole life."
Haney kept Kiara in the yard behind his apartment. Some neighbors say they didn't mind the cat, but the landlord did. The city says the landlord was concerned because just across the street is Central Primary School.
"He wasn't violating any of our ordinances, there really wasn't anything we could do with it," says Manning. "So, we called Game and Fish and they decided we've got to get it out of there."
It's clear to see Haney's not afraid of the mountain lion. He'll put his face right next to hers.
Haney says it would have never hurt anyone. He even has pictures of his daughter playing with the lion.
"When she was little, I couldn't keep her out of the bed with my kid," says Haney.
Haney still comes by the shelter to feed his pet. He's also found her a new place to live.
"She's going to Gainesville, Fla., to a good home. He's a licensed guy," he says. "I've got to have a kidney transplant and I don't have anywhere to keep her anymore."
Haney says saying goodbye won't be easy, "I'll probably cry for a couple of days, but it will be all right, I guess."
Shelter employees say they'll miss her too, "It's been fun having it down here. I hate to see it go."
According to Arkansas Game and Fish, you do have to have a license to keep a mountain lion. Haney had talked with Game and Fish about getting one, but the agency says it wouldn't have granted one until Haney could have proven he could safe place to secure the animal.
Game and Fish says owners of mountain lions have until June 30 to register their animals under new rules.
Haney says Kiara will be taken to Florida on May 19. Until then, she'll stay at a facility in Mena, Ark.
(Courtesy: KTHV-TV, Little Rock, Ark.)
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