PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – YouTube is full of all kinds of home videos that show family trips to Living Treasures Animal Park in Donegal.
It’s a wildlife menagerie, where you get to spend time up close with the animals.
Melissa Hoffman was there with her family earlier this month and became concerned when she noticed a cub moving with what appeared to be some difficulty.
“Something kind of hit me right off, right away, like the lion was walking on glass,” said Hoffman.
She shot cell phone video of the cub, and even though it may look like it, she says she did not edit it to slow motion.
“You can see in the video the mom really loved the lion cub,” said Hoffman. “They were playing down at the end. I was kind of curious, something was off.”
Hoffman says she began asking questions about the cub and was told simply:
“He told me the dad attacks the baby cub and there’s nowhere for him to go and they’re looking for someone to take him or buy him,” said Hoffman.
The owner of Living Treasures posted on Facebook saying, “The lion cub, Thor, has never been molested or attacked by his father. We do not believe any staff member would have made such a statement, because it just isn’t true.”
But Hoffman sent her cellphone video to the website Big Cat Rescue to try to find someone to take the cub. Tom Guiher, the owner, went on in his Facebook post to say:
“Thor was born with a mental disability that hampers his ability to move correctly. We chose to keep this medical condition private. We did not want to aggrandize his plight. To alleviate public concerns, we have already separated the cub from the parents as to prevent possible injury from the father.”
Living Treasures didn’t return our phone calls today, so it’s not clear if the cub was moved. The state licensing agency has no complaints on record for Living Treasures. Hoffman says her only concern was the cub.
“I just saw a situation and wanted get involved and save a life,” she said.