TAMPA, FLA. (WSVN) - Tampa residents who witnessed a critter from the Australian Outback on the loose in their neighborhood are speaking out, and so is the animal’s owner.
Witnesses on Thursday called 911 after they saw a kangaroo hopping around an apartment complex on Thursday.
“Nine-one-one, do you need police, fire or medical?” said the dispatcher.
“I guess police. There’s a kangaroo in my apartment complex,” said a caller.
“Advising loose kangaroo in the complex,” said the dispatcher.
Resident Nicci Wolski said at first she thought her eyes were playing tricks on her.
“And in the lights, I see the silhouette of a kangaroo, and I think there’s no way I saw that, right?” she said.
But when she looked again, Wolski knew that what she was seeing was very real.
“And he was just hopping all over, and he chilled behind our building for a while,” she said.
It wasn’t long before Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputies got the marsupial under control and learned he belongs to Dunia Ramirez.
“He got a bit excited – excitement last night,” said Ramirez.
Ramirez, who lives about a mile away from the complex, said she owns two kangaroos, Jack and Hopper.
“They’re both very chill, very relaxed, and I think they absolutely love each other’s company,” she said.
Somehow, Ramirez said, Hopper escaped early Thursday morning.
The kangaroo’s owner said she is renovating her house, and she believes a worker left the gate open.
Ramirez said she’s relieved the animal wasn’t hurt during his hop away from home.
“And I’m glad he decided to go that way, ’cause I live next to a busy avenue, and I know God was watching over him,” she said.
Ramirez said she was trained as a veterinarian in Cuba and is permitted by the state to own and care for both kangaroos.
She views them as family.
“I know exactly what they love, so they have everything that they could possibly imagine in here,” she said,
Ramirez said it’s a lot more convenient to learn about kangaroos living down the road instead of Down Under.
Now, as Hopper has gained some some notoriety, she hopes to eventually invite the community in to meet both kangaroos.
“I don’t want them just for me. I want everybody to know how beautiful these creatures are,” she said.
Ramirez said she has rescued common pets, farm animals and other exotic wildlife over the years. She said this is the first time Hopper has escaped.
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