Russian man walks leopard in kids’ playground, neighbors not thrilled (VIDEO)
The exotic pet's owner, identified only as ‘Aleksandr’, was caught on CCTV coming down the stairs. The big cat's stifled roars can be heard distinctly.
Residents say Aleksandr does not bother to keep his pet away from the playground, which is just in front of the entrance on the nearby lawn. He regularly walks the leopard in the vicinity without even putting a muzzle on it.
The deep footprints left by the leopard in the playground’s sandbox have become a regular and worrying sight for residents, who fear the cat might break free from its owner and maul the children. As the locals plan to pen a collective letter of complaint to police, Aleksandr insists there is nothing wrong with handling a leopard like a regular housecat.
“The animal is completely tame, it doesn’t bite, doesn’t jump at anybody… It has never happened. There is no danger,” Aleksandr told to Nizhny Novgorod’s Kstati News.
He continued to stand by his refusal to put a muzzle on his dangerous companion, saying that “muzzles are not put on animals like these…you can do it with dogs, but not with such cats.”
Aleksandr claimed the leopard is so well-trained that “it’s a human’s friend, not an enemy,” adding that he has been taking care of the feline since it was born. He did not say from where he had got the animal, noting only that it had been ill and needed treatment.
However, the locals don’t seem to care for Aleksandr’s carefree approach. “It is trying to break loose, it could jump on you and he won't be able to restrain it,” one local resident said.
It’s unclear if the man has an official permit to keep the leopard at home. The regional veterinary authority, meanwhile, says that it had not granted any permit and was not aware of the leopard wandering the streets of the city.
Reports of leopards mauling people are not exactly rare, but tend to come from countries where the big cats roam in the wild, such as India. Last month, a two-year-old was dragged in the fields and mauled to death by a leopard in the city of Bajput in the state of Uttarakhand.
In January, dozens of people were injured after a leopard rampaged through a village in the town of Raiganj.
Tragic incidents involving children can happen even in places with all the safety measures in place, like the zoo in Wichita, Kansas, where in 2011 a seven-year-old boy was grabbed by a leopard which tried to drag him into its enclosure. Fortunately, the child was rescued by other visitors.