Cougar's Owner Knew How Dangerous the Cat Could Be
Chaos, an appropriately named captive cougar, mauled a 16 year old girl after pinning her to the ground over the weekend. Thankfully, She's expected to make a full recovery.
About a year ago New Times profiled Chaos's owner, Alan Rigerman, who at the time was upset with new regulations regarding private ownership of big cats.
Rigerman was well aware of how dangerous Chaos could be.
The cat dives between his legs and begins pawing his ankles; though Chaos was declawed as a cub, he has visibly powerful jabs. "He's a youngster," Rigerman says, trying to steady himself. "He hasn't learned his manners yet." He shuffles away from Chaos, who darts behind him and leaps up on his owner's back, placing both front paws on his shoulders. Rigerman jerks upright, in agony.
"No!" he barks, his voice echoing like an explosion off the walls. "Bad! Bad! Get back!" He bops Chaos on the head; the cat slinks away. "Does he actually know it's bad? I don't know, but he stops."
The moment passes like an eternity. For Rigerman, whose arms bear several bite marks and long scratches, this counts as a pleasant encounter. "Look how good he's being," he says as the cat ecstatically runs his fur through Rigerman's fingers.
New Times also met Anthony Zitnick, the man who allegedly let the girl into the cage. Rigerman is currently out of town, and Zitnick has helped Rigerman handle Chaos and his other cat, though though when our Calvin Godfrey dropped by they were at odds on how often the cats should be let out and how they should be handled.
Zitnick rolls his eyes as Rigerman explains all of this; the young man seems impatient to get Chaos out. "He's a good guy," Zitnick mutters as Rigerman walks into the next room. "He just talks a lot."
Once in the cage room, Rigerman suggests they take out Chantell. Zitnick rolls his eyes again. "When was the last time you did that?" he asks.
According to Rigerman's statement to The Herald Zitnick was not allowed on the property while Rigerman was away, but he did have a key in case of emergencies. Zitnick had invited the girl and her mother to the property with out Rigerman's knowledge. Wildlife officials are investigating.
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