Man gets jail time for petting cougars at a zoo

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DELAWARE, OH – There are cougars, and there are cougars.

Petting one might get you nailed, but petting the other will get you jailed.

Josh Newell got in trouble for jumping a barrier at the Columbus, Ohio zoo and sticking his hand through the fence to stroke the cougar. But he insists taking a video and posting it on YouTube wasn’t to get attention.

"I had 15 views. The Columbus Zoo got a hold of it and now it's 500,000 or whatever it is. So they're the ones that made me a YouTube sensation. They're the ones getting the publicity. People are probably wanting to go to the zoo to see the cougars."

Newell pleaded guilty to trespassing. He’ll have to pay $354 in fines and fees and spend two days in a human cage known as jail.

The zoo’s Harry Peachy says Newell or the cougar could have been harmed. “No matter how relaxed and comfortable those pumas seemed to be with that guest, the next thing they were going to do was bite him. Why it didn't happen we really don't know."

Sometimes stroking a cougar will make it purr, but sometimes she’ll bite. Either way, it could make a good tale.

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