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Ohio police unable to confirm reports of escaped pet mountain lion

2/18/2021 - OHIO - Jackson Township Police Department says all information related to an alleged escaped pet cougar also called a mountain lion or puma is based on social media and they haven’t had any credible reports related to the animal.

Yesterday, an Ohio man believed to be Joe Campbell, who goes by the social media handle Joe King AnimalZ, posted to social media that his pet cougar, referred to as an ambassador animal, had escaped his Canton area home.

Later that day a craigslist poster reported seeing “a large brown looking bobcat wearing a collar near hills and dales in canton.”

A bobcat is much smaller than a cougar. Numerous people contacted police to report the escaped big cat, which is considered a prohibited dangerous species in Ohio.

According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, no person may keep a dangerous species as a pet unless that person owned the animal prior to the law going into effect in 2018. They also can own a dangerous species if they meet one of 10 exemptions. Those exemptions include being an accredited zoo or sanctuary, a research facility, or possessing an Ohio Department of Natural Resources permit.

Roadside Zoo News has attempted to contact the reported owner of the cougar via phone and social media to inquire as to whether he had an exemption for owning the animal but we have been unsuccessful in reaching Campbell.

To make a complaint about a prohibited dangerous exotic animal in Ohio, call 614-728-6220 or email

Anyone who sees the cougar is encouraged to call 911. If you have information on the alleged escaped animal, contact the Jackson Township Police Department at 330-832-1553.


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