THE owner of a African wildcat has been fined £4,000 after the animal was seized from his London home – with the animal now held at a secret location to stop any rescue attempts.
Neighbours reported James Brown, 36, after they saw the wildcat poke its head out of the window in 2018 from his home in Roehampton, southwest London.
The animal, called Zena, was captured by authorities and taken to a wildlife facility.
And District Judge Adrian Turner has now ordered him to pay £4,000 to cover the re-homing of Zena, her handling and casework.
Brown, who has owned Zena since she was a kitten and insists she is a “big, soft pussycat” who is “entirely tame”, did not attend the sentencing hearing.
The beauty salon boss had admitted one count of keeping a dangerous wild animal without a licence previously.
He had previously revealed how he allowed Zena, who is five foot tall when she stands on her hind legs, to play with his young daughter.
Brown says Zena was taken from him before he legally apply for a license.
And prosecutors have said the wildcat is now being kept at a secret location, due to fears her owner may “try to rescue” her.
Wildcats, who can jump 12 feet, can be legally kept in the UK if owners have a license.
Brown previously told The Sun: “She has never bitten or clawed anyone. The police took her away like she was some kind of monster but she’s so affectionate. It’s so unfair.
“She’s no more trouble than an ordinary cat and I’ve no idea who would want to report us and get her taken away.
“She was well exercised and there was never any danger of her escaping because she was always on a harness. We all loved her but now I fear we’ll never see her again.”
Prosecutor Harry Laidlaw told the court that Zena was from the Serengeti National Park in Africa.
Along with the huge wildcat, Brown also has French bulldog called Rambo and a Chihuahua called Gizmo.
— to www.thesun.co.uk