The owners of the Cheetah that escaped and was roaming the highway of the east shore of Kootenay Lake are to make their first court appearance Friday (Feb 17) in BC Provincial Court in Creston BC.
TMTV (Teamwork Media Television Inc.) Creston BC Canada – Charges under the Controlled Alien Species Regulation were laid last December against two people, Earl Pfeifer and Carol Plato both received one count of possessing an alien species without a permit. ( i.e.: any animal that isn’t native to B.C. )
Samantha Istance was driving along Highway 3A between Kootenay Bay and Crawford Bay back in December 2015 when she spotted the big cat on the side of the road and took a couple of photographs. At the time she was hoping the exotic cat would be captured safely, and not shot. Neither happened.
Other Residents of Crawford Bay BC located on the east shore of Kootenay Lake also spotted the adult cheetah on the loose wandering around Highway 3A.
Children at nearby schools were kept indoors and residents were warned to remain vigilant while outside.
RCMP began searching for the big cat, but the hunt was called off after no further sightings were reported. The Conservation Officer Service could not determine whether the cheetah was still at large or not and the cheetah was ever found.
Cheetahs need permits
In B.C., cheetahs are considered a “controlled alien species” and require a permit under the Wildlife Act.
The only permit to possess a cheetah in the whole province is held by a zoo in the Vancouver area, according to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations — making it unlikely this cheetah is legally in the province.
Someone in the Kootenay region did applied to possess a cheetah, but that application was currently under review by the ministry, and staff said in a statement there is “no indication or information as to whether the cheetah that was on the loose at that time could be related to the above permit application.”
B.C. residents who do not obtain a permit for their exotic animal can be fined up to $250,000 and face a maximum of two years in prison, and the animal could be seized, under provincial law.
It’s not know if Earl Pfeifer and Carol Plato will appear or have their lawyer appear on their behalf.