Wednesday 13 November 2019

City council allows pet kangaroo

Christie Carr can keep her kangaroo, Irwin, a city council has ruled (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Christie Carr can keep her kangaroo, Irwin, a city council has ruled (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

A depressed woman can keep a partially paralysed kangaroo at her home in a north-east Oklahoma city, officials have agreed, just weeks after she was warned that the therapy pet might be run out of town.

The Broken Arrow City Council unanimously voted to create an exotic animal ordinance exemption that would allow Christie Carr to keep Irwin the red kangaroo within city limits under certain conditions.

Ms Carr is unable to work because of her health and has found comfort in the companionship of Irwin. The animal was disabled after running into a fence and she found him while volunteering at a local animal sanctuary on the advice of her therapist.

"Irwin is my life," she said at the council meeting. "He's given me strength."

Irwin fractured his neck and suffered brain damage when he ran into the fence, and Ms Carr offered to take him home and nurse him back to health. Irwin cannot stand or walk on his own, although he can hop with assistance.

Council members had been concerned that the kangaroo could present a risk to public safety. Native to Australia, healthy male great red kangaroos can grow up to 7 feet tall, weigh more than 200lbs and bound 25 feet in a single leap.

But veterinarians say Irwin will probably not grow larger than 50lbs because of his injury and because he has been neutered. Ms Carr's therapist has certified the animal as a therapy pet under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The marsupial never leaves the house without first getting dressed. The clothes - a little boy's shirt cut and sewed to accommodate his neck, sometimes a tie, and jeans or slacks with a hole cut for the tail - are necessary for therapeutic reasons and to protect him against germs, Ms Carr said.

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