Ohio family who had neutered, declawed "pet" lion to be on Animal Planet

Family to be featured on Animal Planet
Area couple to recount on show their experience with pet lion

Posted Jan 03, 2010 @ 11:43 PM

Sometime in January, Jeff “Coco” Colaiacovo of Dover and his family will appear on the Animal Planet’s “Weird, True and Freaky in a segment about peculiar pets.

Colaiacovo and his wife, Carol, raised an African lion, Banjo, in their home from May to September 2000.

The lion cub was 3 weeks old when purchased. But an ordinance in Dover that prohibits exotic animals in the city forced them to give Banjo, nicknamed Bubba, back to the breeder, who is a handler and trainer of animals.

Colaiacovo said it would not have been possible to have a lion after his daughter Alexandra, 8, was born.

Banjo now resides in southern Ohio, weighs 585 pounds and is a house cat – so to speak. He has been neutered and declawed.

“He lives with the breeder, is house broken and goes to the door to go outside,” Colaiacovo said.

Michael Hoff Productions of California gained footage from several television stations that came to Dover to film the lion when it lived at the Colaiacovo house. In February 2009, the filming crew came from California and filmed the Colaiacovo family about the lion.

That segment is to appear either in early January or February on Peculiar Pets which airs every Tuesday from 8 to 10. Anyone wanting to check the status of the air day can go to www.discoveryanimalplanet.com.

Colaiacovo has not seen Banjo for eight years but plans a reunion with him in the near future, which will be filmed by Michael Hoff Productions. Colaiacovo is sure the cat will remember him once he sees him. He hopes to break a Guinness Book of Records when dealing with the lion reunion.

With earnings from the films he plans to donate funds to Cats – n – Us shelter and the Tuscarawas County Humane Society.

Colaiacovo said he also has 17 snakes currently on display at the Pittsburgh Zoo. He said most of the snakes are anacondas and boa constrictors.

http://www.timesreporter.com/local_news/x1820917774/Family-to-be-featured-on-Animal-Planet

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Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at https://bigcatrescue.org

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