An Oklahoma woman is seeking an exemption from the Broken Arrow City Council to keep her therapeutic pet, even though there's a small possibility that he'll grow to more than 7-feet tall and become violent. Christie Carr, who suffers from depression, developed a bond with Irwin, a baby kangaroo, after he ran into a fence at an animal sanctuary and she nursed him back to health, the Associated Press reports. The injury left Irwin partially paralyzed and caused him to suffer brain damage, though he's now able to hop three or four times with assistance.
At 1-year-old, Irwin weighs 25 pounds and Carr cares for him like a child. She feeds him, snaps him into a car seat, and takes him everywhere she goes. He even wears clothing, which protects him from germs and is necessary for unspecified "therapeutic reasons."
City officials are understandably concerned about the prospect of a full size wild animal being toted to the local Starbucks, but his veteranarian, Dr. Lesleigh Cash Warren, says he'll probably only grow to 50 pounds due to his injury and isn't likely to become agressive because he's neutered. In a letter supporting Carr's effort to keep Irwin, Warren said, "Irwin cannot be judged as any normal kangaroo. He is a unique animal due to his disabilities and will require a lifetime of care and concern for his welfare."
Carr's therapist also believes the two should stay together and has certified Irwin as a therapy pet. As of March 15 the Americans With Diabilities Act only recognizes dogs and miniature horses as service animals, but according to the Chicago Sun-Times, states and municipalities can make their own guidelines. The council has delayed its decision until April 17, and is considering creating a review panel that would look at appeals to keep exotic animals on a case-by-case basis.