MOUNTAIN LION CUB FOUND TIED IN JESSUP
Police found a declawed 4-month-old mountain lion with filed teeth tied to a tree behind a house in Jessup Thursday morning and took it to the county animal control shelter, police said.
The suspected owner of the 75-pound animal, Dorothy Whitaker of the 7900 block of Old Jessup Road, was charged with possession of an endangered species without a permit, said Sgt. Robert Adams, a police spokesman.
Tahira Williams, the county's animal control officer, said Whitaker told her the female cougar was a gift purchased by Whitaker's husband from a breeder in Florida. The state Department of Natural Resources was told a slightly different story -- that the animal came from out of the country, Williams said.
Williams said that although it appears the animal has been "socialized," the shelter is treating it as a wild animal by limiting contact with it and keeping it in isolation pending a trial date in mid-November.
By then, Williams hopes the Department of Natural Resources will have worked out a plan for the animal, since the shelter is a holding operation.
"This is a very unfortunate situation," Williams said. "Although it is very apparent to me that the cougar has been socialized -- it yearns for human contact and is very playful -- it is still a wild animal, which at feeding time makes it very clear that we are to keep our distance."
Williams said the Baltimore Zoo had donated 80 pounds of meat to the shelter and has suggested the cougar be fed a strict diet of 1 to 1 pounds of meat a day.
After the animal gets settled, Williams said, the shelter will ask a veterinarian trained to work with exotic animals to perform a physical on the cougar. Meanwhile the shelter is monitoring the cougar very closely, Williams said.
"I don't really know how big a danger she possesses," Williams said.
"But anyone trying to make a pet of a wild animal like this is taking a chance regardless of how well socialized the animal is."
GUN, BADGE STOLEN FROM OFF-DUTY OFFICER
A 9mm handgun and a police badge were stolen Tuesday evening from the trunk of a county police cruiser parked at the Columbia Athletic Club while an officer was off duty, a police spokesman said.
The equipment, along with a police identification card, was taken sometime between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. when someone opened the trunk with a key stolen from another police cruiser, said Sgt. Gary L. Gardner.
Gardner said another cruiser parked in the 5000 block of Green Mountain Circle was broken into shortly after 5:30 p.m. A set of keys and police uniforms also were taken from the car, which had been left in the driveway of the officer's residence, Gardner said.
The keys fit the locks of many of the county police patrol cruisers, Gardner said.
The thief then apparently sought out another patrol car and opened the trunk of the one parked at the athletic club, located in the 5400 block of Beaverkill Road.
Police say it is not known whether the gun contained any ammunition.
Anyone with any information on the theft is asked to call county police at 992-2266 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 276-8888.