Man jumps fence at Ohio zoo to pet cougars now charged with trespassing

More than 100,000 people have watched a man jump into a cougar enclosure at an Ohio zoo.

That, after a video titled “Cougar” was posted to YouTube a few days ago featuring a pair of cougars at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and a man who hopped a fence to get up close to the big cats. Calling “kitty, kitty, kitty,” the person taking the video walks right up to the animals and sticks his hands though another fence to stroke them.

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The cats are surprisingly friendly. And, the two-minute video ends, also surprisingly, with everybody’s limbs intact.

The zoo issued this statement:

“With the help of the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium pressed charges against a local man for criminal trespassing which is a misdemeanor. This arose from a video posted online earlier this week that showed him scaling a barrier to touch two adult cougars in the Zoo’s North America region.

It is fortunate that neither he nor the animals were harmed.

‘Animal welfare and safety are two of our top priorities,’ said Tom Stalf, President and CEO of the Columbus Zoo. ‘Barriers, like the fence line at the cougar habitat, are in place to keep our guests and animals safe. The actions taken in this video were alarming and resulted in our decision to press charges.'”

Joshua Newell, 35, now faces a trespassing charge.

Photos Jmilestones Newell/YouTube

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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