To the Collins family, the 180kg lion that paces in its 28m2 cage is ``Kitty,'' their cute pet. But to other people in this small town in the US state of Kentucky, Kitty is a frightening menace. Neighbors are asking the government to make the Collins family move him.
``I think it needs to be in a different environment,'' said Pauline Hall, who lives three houses away from the Collins family. ``Everybody here keeps their guns loaded.''
Barry Collins bought Kitty three years ago when the lion was a 2.3kg cub. The Collinses said all their pet purchases were a way to save the animals from harm or abuse. ``If I can save (an animal) I will,'' said Melissa Collins.
The Collinses said they were surprised when neighbors asked the government to make them get rid of Kitty. They said they'd heard a handful of complaints since they brought the lion home, but nothing serious.
``He's not bothering (anybody),'' Barry Collins said.
When asked whether Kitty is inherently dangerous, he said any pet can be unpredictable and that he doesn't think the lion would hurt his children, ages one, three and five.
However, not everyone agrees. ``I'm sure it is a big pet to the owners,'' said Keith Bartley, a lawyer for the government, ``but the one time something goes wrong with a cat that size, someone's going to be really hurt or dead.''
If the government makes him get rid of his lion, Bartley said he's working with a local veterinarian to find a zoo or animal sanctuary that the lion could be moved to.
``If they love that lion, I don't believe they'd want it to live its entire life in a dog cage on a concrete pad,'' Bartley said. (AP)
1. If Kitty starts to hurt anyone, neighbors have implied they will ...
a. call the police.
b. ask Mr Collins to control it.
c. shoot it.
2. Why does the Collins family buy pets?
a. To keep them from being abused.
b. To scare away criminals from their house.
c. Because they think they are fun.
3. Barry Collins thinks that all animals are ...
4. When the Collinses heard their neighbors had asked the government to make them move Kitty, they were ...