Bungling firemen released a man’s pet Bengal kitten into the wild after mistaking it for a jaguar cub.
Firefighters had been called to a condominium complex in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on 10th December to remove a “small jaguar”.
They had captured the feline using a net and had then released it in a nearby area of woodland.
Furious Rodrigo Calil later revealed that the animal was not, in fact, a jaguar but his pet Bengal cat, worth BRL 7,000 (GBP 1,100).
Rodrigo – an actor and vet – had seen messages on his phone from his neighbours that morning saying there was a “jaguar” on his floor near the lift.
He had then realised his pet cat Massinha – an extremely docile seven-month-old – was missing from his flat.
He said: “I woke up around 7am and, when I went to look at my mobile phone, I saw in the condominium group a request for no one to go to the lift.
“They said there was a jaguar in the stairway.
“I got out of bed at once and went to look around the house to see if I could find it. Then I told the group it wasn’t a jaguar but my cat, a Bengal breed.”
But he was then told that firemen had visited and had released the feline into an area of woodland.
The Fire Department later said in a statement: “At dawn today (10th), we were called to capture a jaguar cub.
“According to information from the requesters, the animal had been close to a playground in the condominium area, very aggressive and cornered, for about two days.
“The fire brigade was on site in order to eliminate the risk to residents, who felt threatened by a possible feline attack.
“Arriving at the scene, the garrison identified that it was not a jaguar but a cat (apparently a wild cat).
“After analysing the situation, the officers used appropriate techniques and equipment, which enabled the safe capture of the animal. During handling, no identification of the owner visible through a collar or any other device was verified.
“As it was not a jaguar, the military sought information from the condominium guards, if they had received any reports of a stray animal. They reported that said animal did not belong to any local resident.
“After being captured safely and unharmed, since it had no injuries and was apparently healthy, and because it had the characteristics of a domestic animal, it was released in a more remote location outside the condominium in a forested area, according to standard protocol.
“After the end of the occurrence, a person claiming to be the animal’s owner made contact to find out the whereabouts of the animal that had run away from home, according to him.
“The garrison accepted the request and returned to the scene to try to help the owner locate his animal, without success.”
But Rodrigo said: “I told them they couldn’t do that. They don’t have the technical capacity to do so and, even assuming it’s a wild animal, they need to do a screening.
“They released the cat in the woods, I’ve called them asking them to help with the search and they aren’t coming.”
Belo Horizonte City Hall then sent a veterinarian to help Rodrigo with his search for Massinha, who is microchipped.
The story then came to a happy close when Massinha was found later that night.
Rodrigo, his family, and animal rescue volunteers had spotted the cat in the woods, but it had darted back among the trees.
Using a thermographic camera, they were then able to locate the feline and rescue it.
Rodrigo said: “It was a surreal day, a day during which I was outraged by several successive mistakes.
“My daughter cried a lot and asked to go back to the spot at night.
“Her godmother heard the cat and we went back with the thermographic camera.”
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Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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