Tennessee man strangles, kills pet kangaroo while talking to animal owners Hope and Chris Lea after the animal escapes enclosure and allegedly attacks neighbor.
The incident occurred at the Fern Valley Road property owned by Hope and Chris Lea in the city of White House, about 20 miles north of Nashville, on Wednesday. The property houses a variety of animals, including llamas and emus.
Authorities responded to the home around 5pm after reports of two people ‘who had been in a battle with a male kangaroo’ named Carter, according to Sumner County Sheriff Tim Bailey.
Carter’s owners came home to find their other kangaroos milling around the dead animal, according to WKRN.
‘He didn’t have nowhere to go,’ Hope said. ‘He was choked to death in his own space.’
‘It’s like losing a family member.’
Tennessee law allows people to own kangaroos, with males costing around $2,000 and females going for $3,000.
‘We love these animals like they’re our kids,’ Chris Lea told News 4 Nashville. ‘He didn’t deserve to be choked and strangled to death.’
‘We’ve had Carter since he was a little nugget,’ she added. ‘It’s like losing a family member.’
The incident began after neighbors spotted Carter, a 5ft, 60 pound roo, had escaped from his enclosure on the owners’ animal farm property.
The neighbors called the Leas to see if they could get the kangaroo back into his normal confinement.
The Leas said they told their neighbors, who were not immediately named, that they could feed the kangaroo to lure him back to his area within the Leas’ fenced-in property.
The couple also said they would be home within an hour to take care of the situation News Channel 5 reported.
‘I’m strangling the kangaroo now’
The woman was reportedly assaulted by the kangaroo after she and her husband entered the Leas’ property in an effort to bring him back to the enclosure.
That’s when the woman’s husband stepped in and strangled the kangaroo, killing Carter before the Leas arrived back home.
Neither of the neighbors were seriously hurt.
The Leas said that they returned home to find their younger kangaroos surrounding Carter’s lifeless body.
‘I was screaming because all of the babies were standing around his dead body and I was just so upset,’ Hope tearfully said.
‘And he says, ‘I’m strangling the kangaroo now. He grabbed my wife. I’m going to kill him. He’s dangerous. Y’all need to keep your (expletive) animals contained,’‘ Lea told News 4 Nashville.
The couple are now looking into a potential lawsuit against their neighbors over their pet kangaroo’s death.
Lea’s wife, Hope, told News 2 WKRN she had just delivered a gift basket to the neighbor a day earlier after learning he had the flu.
It was still unclear whether or not the husband responsible for killing Carter would face criminal charges.
Although Tennessee does not allow most exotic animals as pets, some native reptiles and other unregulated wildlife, are legal in the state, including sugar gliders, hedgehogs and kangaroos.
Kangaroo ownership is also legal with a permit in Washington, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maine and New Jersey.
In Wisconsin, West Virginia and South Carolina, a permit is not required for kangaroo ownership.