Why the mystery of Muskoka escaped cougar may never be solved
Zator had just pulled onto Middaugh Rd., the rural side road south of Huntsville where he lives with his wife, when the animal flashed across his sightline. He wasn sure exactly what kind of cat it was, only that it was bigger than a bobcat and much more powerful.
Three doors down and six days later, another Middaugh Rd. resident, 63 year old Edna Paul, was inside her small cottage home when her dog began to bark. She turned around and locked eyes with a cougar, its nose nearly touching her flimsy screen door.
But the next night, Zator next door neighbour, Cassidy Phillips, heard uncharacteristic yelping from Women's P.K Subban Jersey Indy, the family part husky. Racing to the window, Phillips saw a cougar sinking its long fangs deep into Indy skull.
was right here, right in front of the porch door, says Phillips, 18, pointing to a patch of grass browned by the spilled blood. shut all the windows and we were both crying. We just had to watch. Indy, soaked in blood, was euthanized that night. Wildlife officers collected the cougar body and brought it to Guelph for an autopsy.
The animal, a female, had no tags or tattoos that would help unravel the mystery of where she came from. But she was declawed and exceptionally Maurice Richard S Jersey well fed proof the cat was once captive.
On Middaugh Rd., residents have found an easy place to park their suspicions. While bears and foxes are features of rural Muskoka life, few here can remember seeing a cougar except the caged ones across the street at Guha Tiger and Lion Farm, an exotic animal menagerie. The farm is so close that the neighbours hear lions roaring at dawn.
Owner Nanda Guha vehemently denies the cougar was his. His animals six lions, one jaguar and two cougars would never want to escape, he said.
am their everything. Where will they go to? Guha did have a third cougar, but he says it died in childbirth in late June right around the same time his neighbours started glimpsing the cat that killed Indy. He also says his cougar was not declawed.
Because Ontario is the only province with no laws specifically governing exotic animal ownership, the origins of the once captive cougar may never be discovered there is no paper trail behind her.
All other provinces require a permit to own exotic species like lions and tigers, or they ban them as pets outright. But Ontario does neither, and any attempts to bring in legislation have failed. Cities and towns are left to cobble together their own exotic animal bylaws as they see fit. Many, including Muskoka Lakes, where Guha lives, have none.
Opening a zoo in Ontario is no different than opening a coffee shop. just have to hang out a shingle, says Bill Peters, national director of the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the organization that accredits zoos in Canada.
When the Ministry of Community Safety tightened its animal welfare laws in 2009, Peters says CAZA and other groups urged lawmakers to include licensing requirements for exotic animals, to no avail.
didn go far enough. And that a fact, says MPP Dave Levac, who was then parliamentary secretary to the minister of community safety.
A year later, Levac introduced a private member bill that would have patched up the legislative void, the third attempt in 15 years. It died.
somebody gets mauled to death, don you think we should know where these things are? he says.
Guha playfully brings his hands up to meet Sasa front paws as the cat begins rubbing its great head against the fence, rattling the caging.
you. You know that, says the 72 year old Guha.
Wandering from pen to pen on his 100 acre property, he fawns over his jaguar, Kala, promises his young cougar Kelly he be back to play and stares lovingly at the 18 year old lion Singha, lazily rolling in the sun.
I leave the gate open for some reason like I unlock it, then the phone rings so I pick up the phone if www.officialhockeycanadiens.com/Authentic-Pk-Subban-Jersey they do get out they go sit by (my front door) and wait for me, he said.
He says he invites his animals into the house to watch TV Kala favourite is football and takes them for off leash walks around his unfenced property. He not worried they might try to escape because he bottle raised them all and says they would never want to leave.
Love of animals is on my heart, says Guha, whose family has been rearing exotic animals in India for 13 generations. Guha moved to Canada 40 years ago and opened the zoo with his wife in 1996.
Guha Tiger and Lion Farm is what is often called a zoo small, nonaccredited menageries of captive wildlife often run by enthusiasts with no particular qualifications. Only seven of Ontario approximately 50 zoos are accredited by CAZA, but watchdog groups like the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and Zoocheck regularly censure the same half dozen roadside zoos.
Guha is a perennial punching bag especially since a jaguar escaped.
On a February afternoon in 2008, the OPP received a call that one of Guha 400 pound jaguars was out of its cage and loose on the farm. With buses unloading children after the school day and the nearest facility with a tranquilizer gun a 40 minute drive away, officers had no choice but to shoot to kill. They were told to work in pairs and to never turn their back on the forest.
Luckily, the beast didn get far. It was shot while mauling Guha pet dog, which had been tied up beside the officialhockeycanadiens.com/Authentic-Maurice-Richard-Jersey house, according to news reports.
Guha now claims the cat got out after an animal activist slashed the fencing, and he denies the dog was attacked. He also believes killing the jaguar was wrong.
wasn a mean bone in his body, Guha said, describing how it used to play shake a paw with children. still cry for him. In 2007, Ministry of Natural Resources officers seized two red foxes, two lynxes, two wolves and two wild turkeys from him. Unlike exotic species, keeping native wildlife as pets is illegal, though with ministry approval some species can be kept for educational purposes. Charges related to the other animals were dropped. (Cougars are not on MNR list of native species, so Guha weren seized.) Four years later, the fine is still outstanding.
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