Declawed Cougar Chomps Teen

November 24, 2008

By Yul

What’s with stupid young men and big cats? Now an innocent cougar named Chaos is in the dog house because of a 21-year-old trespasser named Anthony Zitnick.

On November 15, Zitnick, using an old key he had from 2005 to do yard work after Hurricane Wilma, took 16-year-old Amanda Gomez and her mother into a private wildlife sanctuary in Miami Gardens, Florida, owned by Alan Rigerman, a retired teacher.

Chaos and owner Rigerman in happier times (Photo - MiamiNewTimes)

Chaos and owner Rigerman in happier times (Photo - MiamiNewTimes)

Reports conflict on whether Zitnick was trying to impress Amanda as a love interest, or if he was just helping her fulfill a community service requirement for high school graduation by cleaning cages. Amanda wanted to be a zoologist.

Either way, Rigerman was away and had no idea he had visitors.

Chaos, the 4-year-old, 150-pound declawed cougar was minding his own business when Zitnick let him out of his cage. Nobody has said why Chaos lunged at Amanda, but some authorities believe the attack was her fault. Chaos punctured Amanda in several places with his teeth and chomped the back of her head. Luckily, he didn’t rabbit-kick her with his still-intact back claws or she’d have been shredded.

A neighbor hearing Amanda’s screams came running and managed to kick and punch Chaos back into his cage. Zitnick apparently just stood there in shock.

On the Today Show this morning, Amanda said she’s rethinking her career aspirations because the only cat she trusts now is her own domestic shorthair.

Zitnick is free on bond after being charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling.

Chaos lives at the sanctuary with his mother, Chantelle, snakes, tortoises, and alligators. He has no history of violence, and his eventual fate is unknown.

We just hope this beautiful cat won’t have to suffer – or die – for Zitnick’s stupidity.

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