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Kids with claws: Lithuanian woman shelters, cares for three pumas

A female zoo volunteer in Lithuania was not going to let three puma cubs suffer after their mother abandoned them, so she took them home. Four months later, the cubs are eating a lot of chicken and getting along with her shepherd dog. 

By StaffAssociated Press / April 12, 2013

Three four-month-old pumas seen in Rasa Veliute's apartment in Klaipeda, Lithuania, April 12.

Ausra Pilaitiene/Associated Press


Klaipeda, Lithuania

A Lithuanian woman says she has been raising three pumas in her three-room apartment after fearing for their lives at the local zoo.

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Rasa Veliute, a 23-year-old volunteer at the zoo in Klaipeda, a Baltic Sea port town, says she took the cubs home four months ago after their mother began neglecting them.

The pumas — also known as mountain lions or cougars — are named Kipsas, Gipse and Kinde. Veliute says they eat a lot of chicken and get along well with her East European shepherd dog.

There is no Lithuanian law barring keeping the animals at home, and the zoo did not object to Veliute's actions. But Veliute told reporters Friday that the pumas have grown fast and will likely return to the zoo this summer.

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