Ohio zoo presses charges against man who petted cougars

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio zoo officials say they are pressing charges against a man who jumped a fence to pet cougars, then posted his video on YouTube.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium says the Delaware County Sheriff’s office has charged a suspect with a misdemeanor count of trespassing. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Tracy Whited says 35-year-old Joshua Newell was served Friday with a summons to appear in court Wednesday.

The video posted earlier this week shows an outer fence being jumped, then two cougars being petted through another fence as a voice says things such as “Kitty, kitty, kitty.”

Columbus Zoo CEO Tom Stalf says in a statement that animal welfare and safety are top priorities. He calls the video “alarming.”

A telephone listed to Newell’s suburban Gahanna address rang busy Saturday.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.