LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. (CBS Tampa) — Florida police find a dead cougar in a freezer after responding to a call about a man allegedly commenting about his penis to a 15-year-old boy.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office made the discovery on Oct. 16 after initially being called to the home of Gene Stimmler, 73, by Joseph Valenzuela, according to the Broward Palm Beach New Times. Authorities were told that Stimmler allegedly made inappropriate comments to Valenzuela’s son.
During the investigation inside Stimmler’s home, they found a full-grown cougar inside his freezer.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was called to the scene to investigate the matter further.
“The FWC checks all captive animals to determine their species and ensure that they were lawfully acquired. FWC records showed that (Gene) Stimmler, at one time, had captive cougars,” a release provided to CBS Tampa by the FWC said. “He previously held the appropriate permits to possess cougars and other wildlife. However, when the animals died, he submitted paperwork to the FWC to cancel and refund those permits.”
Added Capt. Jeff Ardelean in the release, “Unfortunately, even in healthy facilities, it is not uncommon for captive animals to get sick or die.”
As for Stimmler’s actions in storing the animal carcass, the FWC did not find anything legally objectionable.
“When these animals die, people really do handle it differently,” FWC spokesperson Katie Purcell told CBS Tampa. “And that’s what happened in this situation.”
Though Stimmler’s actions in storing the cougar carcass were not illegal, he reportedly later tried to steal Valenzuela’s Chihuahua. When he told authorities that he’d had the right to take the dog, he was then placed under arrest.
The Times is reporting that Stimmler was booked at the Palm Beach County Jail and charged with grand theft for attempting to take the dog.
He was reportedly released Oct. 17, when he posted a $3,000 bond.