Heavyweight boxing champ charged after cougar escapes Parkland home

PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - A heavyweight boxing champion faces almost two dozen charges after his cougar escaped from his home in a Parkland neighborhood.

The cougar was found sunning itself on a driveway along Northwest 80th Terrace on Jan. 1.

“Some lady from the street said it was running around the street,” Julia Meyer, a neighbor, said.

Investigators said the cougar belongs to Tyrone Spong, a heavyweight boxing champion who lives near where the feline was found.

“One of my neighbors posted it, and I said, ‘Wait a minute, I gotta go down and see this,'” neighbor Greg Knights said.

Spong faces 23 charges related to the animal’s escape, and each one of the 23 charges incurs a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail. State prosecutors are calling the cougar’s escape extremely dangerous.

Investigators believe the 60-pound cougar leaped the fence at Spong’s home and into a neighbor’s yard. At the time of the escape, no one in the neighborhood knew where the animal came from.

Some of the charges Spong faces include allowing the cougar to escape, keeping it without a permit, keeping it in a small cage and failing to provide clean water and appropriate shelter.

After learning the cougar belongs to their neighbor, many said off camera that they are not surprised.

7News cameras captured cages at the home, and Spong appears to have other wild animals.

The cougar was taken to a wildlife center, where it is said to be doing just fine.

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