Oz lad 'fell in love with' baby meerkat, nicked it from zoo, took it out for a romantic Big Mac
23-year-old fined $4,000, volunteers services for Perth Zoo, zoo says thanks but nah
Ever found yourself overcome by cuteness while gawping at sad, caged animals that you just had to take one home with you? Us neither, but that's exactly what 23-year-old Jesse Hooker did on a trip to Perth Zoo in Australia.
The tourist attraction reported that a one-month-old meerkitten had gone missing on 19 September, fearing that it had become a snack for a predator or that it had been "illegally taken".
After a search, police found the critter two days later at a home in the town of Beverley, 133km (83 miles) southeast of the state capital.
It transpired that Hooker had hopped the enclosure wall and scooped up the little fluff ball because it was so cute he "fell in love with it", according to Seven News.
He smuggled the meerkat out in a cooler bag "playing loud music to drown out its cries", the telly network reported. Simples.
He then took it to McDonald's before heading home. Because nothing says "you're so adorable I can't even" like greasy cardboard in a bap.
Hooker's defence lawyer, Chad Silver, insisted he only leaned over the fence to snatch up the animal. As if it was some kind of mitigation, Silver added: "If you go to the zoo, you'll realise how cute they are, and you'll see the attraction."
Hooker has been fined AU$4,000. He wrote to Perth Zoo offering to perform his community service there, which was politely declined.
The meerkat has been successfully reintroduced to the family unit and is being monitored. Obviously life outside its mob just doesn't compare. ®