According to The Sun Sentinel, 33-year-old Tyrone Spong was charged with numerous offenses, including keeping an animal without a permit, in connection with his pet cougar escaping from his Florida home earlier this year. Spong’s manager declined to comment.
Spong (13-0, 12 KOs) is scheduled to fight again on August 31 in Mexico. He's been out of the ring since last December.
Parkland residents in Florida spotted what they believed was an endangered Florida panther in January. Responding wildlife officers subdued it with a tranquilizer.
Although Parkland is near the eastern edge of Florida panther habitat, state wildlife investigators doubted the animal was one of the native felines. They say the large cat is actually a captive-bred cougar.
Investigators have solved the mystery, as they determined it had escaped from a cage in a nearby backyard. Officials say the cougar was underweight when captured, but has since made a full recovery. It’s now being housed in a licensed facility.
“Mr. Spong kept an extremely dangerous class 1 cougar which ultimately escaped and was loose in a residential neighborhood during daylight hours while school was not in session during New Year’s Day 2019 resulting in threats to the public safety,” states a report released this week by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Spong was hit with 20 misdemeanor charges. The paper notes that he was "charged with keeping the animal without a permit, allowing it to escape, keeping it in too small a cage, failing to provide it with toys or other stimulation, not providing shelter and several other charges. Investigators also found caged macaw and cockatiel birds that lacked water or clean water, for which he was also charged."
Each of the charges carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.