Firefighters from the northern city of Armentières in France captured a black panther on a rooftop of a residential building on Wednesday night. The animal reportedly escaped from one of the residents' apartment, which kept him indoors illegally. The feline owner is being sought by the authorities.
Black panther appears on roof of building in France
Looking from afar, it looked more like a giant cat. But residents soon realized that it was a black panther walking on top of a three-story building. The animal paced quietly on the edge of the roof and came swiftly through the open window of one of the apartments.
Alerted by neighbors, firefighters set up a security perimeter in the area to prevent the panther from fleeing. Accompanied by a vet, they cornered the animal in an apartment and slept with a tranquilizer dart. The residence where the feline was captured was empty and no one was injured.
The capture operation lasted more than two hours. The panther, which veterinarians say is between five and six months old and weighs about 20 pounds, was handed over to the Animal Protection League (LPA). According to the entity, the animal did not appear to have been mistreated, but had its nails cut by the owner.
1 to 3 years in prison
Since then, police are looking for the owner of the animal. According to the court, he risks a one-year prison sentence and € 15,000 in fines for endangering residents. The department of the Ministry of Ecology in charge of hunting and wildlife issues (ONCFS) has also opened a case to investigate the circumstances of the cat's arrival in the city.
"If the panther managed to escape through a window, that means security conditions were not guaranteed on the spot," said the head of the ONCFS regional office. He noted that the detention of wild animals, especially dangerous and protected species, could cost a sentence of three years in prison and € 150,000 fine.