Smuggled Jaguar Cub Left at California Animal Shelter

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images)

A smuggled jaguar cub has been dumped at a California shelter after the federally protected wild animal was abandoned more than once, federal officials say.

Common sense says that caring for a young jaguar cub would take a lot of work. This is one of the many, many reasons owning an animal such as this one is outlawed. Now, one California woman and a man have been charged criminally for possession of the cub.

The Jaguar Cub Was Sold For Thousands Before Being Surrendered To a Local Shelter

According to officials, a woman sold the young jaguar cub for $30,000. The animal was then sold one more time before it was dumped at an Alpine, California rescue. Both the woman and the man have been charged. The two may be facing prison time if they are found guilty of trafficking charges and transporting an endangered species.

The woman, 40-year-old Denise Meyer of Houston sold the jaguar cub to 34-year-old Abdul Rahman for around $30,000. According to the recent news release, both Meyer and Rahman were indicted by a federal grand jury last week. The multiple changes include interstate transportation of an endangered species in the course of commercial activity, trafficking an endangered species, and trafficking prohibited wildlife species.

Jaguar Cub Was Sold When Illegal Owner Was “Dissatisfied” With The Animal

According to reports, Rahman owned the young cub for about a month or two before selling it to someone else. Apparently, the smuggler didn’t know how to take care of the cub and was “dissatisfied” with the illegal “pet.”

The jaguar then went to the new home for a cost of $17,000, the complaint notes. Apparently, these new owners were expecting a baby and an acquaintance convinced them to “give” the jaguar up. This person then put the jaguar in a dog kennel and dropped it off at the Alpine exotic rescue, Lions, Tigers, and Bears.

Meyer was connected to the animal via photos and videos shared to her Instagram page, the court documents note. Rahman admitted to purchasing the animal from Meyer. The young jaguar cub is still residing at the California rescue.

According to the reports, Meyer could face up to eight years in federal prison and a $700,000 fine for her involvement in the smuggling. Rahman faces as much as seven years in prison. He could also be ordered to pay a $600,000 fine. Meyer, however, continues to evade authorities in connection with the crimes. Rahman will be facing these charges during a November 9 hearing.