A man was arrested in Saudi after he was seen walking a lion down a main road in Jeddah. The sighting was reported by online newspaper Sabq on Monday.
Big cat stake out
According to reports, the offending lion owner was seen with the wild animal outside a cafeteria. Security agencies alerted the authorities and police patrols made a dash to the scene. They found the Saudi national and his over sized cat inside the man’s car.
He is now being questioned by police after handing the male lion over the city’s municipality.
It is not uncommon to see people in Saudi and other countries keeping animals like these as pets. Owning them is often considered a symbol of status. Yet, there have been attacks by the pets against caretakers and owners in the past.
A man in Prague was mauled to death earlier this year after his pet lion turned on him. In 2018, a British man in South Africa was badly injured by a lion living in a wildlife park. He he had raised the lion from a cub.
Dangerous pet owners face punishment in the UAE
In the UAE, the practice of keeping dangerous animals as pets has been outlawed. People who go against the law face fines of up to AED 500,000 ($136,147) or a jail sentence. The law, which came about in 2016, applies to the selling and ownership of all types of wild and dangerous animals.
These animals can now only be kept in facilities such as zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, and breeding and research centres.
This year, regulations were tightened further, with 12 articles detailing the requirements for the transport and accommodation of dangerous animals, as well as their seizure, care and disposal.
Even so, at the UAE and Saudi border, an escaped tiger was caught on camera by astonished drivers.