- Dude, just go to a pound and adopt a cat. It’s legal and you’ll help a homeless kitty.
For the past few weeks, the Dallas Zoo in Texas has been struggling with a mysterious invader. An unknown intruder has cut enclosures open, allowed a leopard to escape its habitat, and reportedly caused the death of a vulture.
But things came to a head on January 30 when two tamarind monkeys were stolen from the zoo. At that point, it became clear that someone was after the zoo’s animals.
Fortunately, the monkeys survived their ordeal. The cops found the animals in a dilapidated church community house after a tip from neighbors.
Based on the tip-off, they’ve now arrested and jailed Davion Irvin, 24. He’s facing six charges of animal cruelty, in addition to a burglary charge.
As to his motive, Irvin has simply said that he “loves animals.” It also seems that he has no intention to stop collecting animals.
The police got on Irvin’s trail after he was spotted near the Dallas World Aquarium, potentially scoping out his next target. He has also bluntly told the cops that if he’s released, he’ll keep stealing animals.
We can all probably agree that while it’s okay to be an animal lover, this isn’t the way anyone should go about it.
The first strange incident at the Dallas Zoo happened on January 13. Someone cut open the habitat of Nova, the zoo’s famous clouded leopard.
Due to the cut in the fence, Nova managed to sneak out of her enclosure. She was found unharmed some hours later and returned to her home, where she has reportedly settled back into her normal routine.
Only a short time later, zoo staff discovered a similar hole in the enclosure housing the zoo’s langur monkeys. However, they didn’t seem keen on exploring the outside world and all monkeys were still in their habitat.
Then, on the weekend of January 20-22, the lappet-faced vulture Pin died in his enclosure. An autopsy revealed that he had sustained a “wound” and reportedly didn’t die from “natural causes.”
The zoo’s troubles continued on January 30. Two of their tamarin monkeys — Bella and Finn — disappeared.
Just as before, the monkeys’ enclosure had clearly been cut open with a tool. It was rather clear that someone had stolen the creatures.
Luckily, Bella and Finn weren’t gone for long. On the evening of January 31, the police received a tip that someone may have seen the monkeys.
Tonya Thomas, the daughter of the pastor of the Family Center Church of God in Christ in Lancaster, told the police that the monkeys may be inside the church’s community house. The building is in poor condition and has been boarded up to await renovations.
According to Thomas, there had been unusual activity at the community house. The door, which was supposed to remain locked, had been open.
When the police got to the house, there was nobody home. Well, there was a small zoo’s worth of animals.
In addition to the two tamarin monkeys, the cops found cats, chickens, pigeons, and other birds in the house. There were also several dead goldfish floating upside down.
Inside were also blankets and empty food cans, and the floor was covered in animal droppings. Although there was no heat, someone had clearly been staying there with the animals.
‘I’ll Do It Again’
The police began to suspect that Irvin may have something to do with the Dallas Zoo’s plight after talking to zoo staff. According to them, Irvin had been at the zoo several times before the monkeys’ disappearance and asked bizarrely specific questions about the animals whose enclosures had been vandalized.
When the cops showed Thomas and her family a picture of Irvin, they recognized him as someone who had attended their church. Putting one and one together, the police started thinking that Irvin may be their animal lover.
Irvin was arrested after a witness spotted him in the vicinity of the Dallas World Aquarium. Under arrest, he confessed to being behind many of the incidents at the zoo — although he’s not at the time connected to the death of the vulture.
He was the one who cut Nova’s enclosure, allowing the leopard to escape. Irvin said he had planned to take the animal, but only managed to “pet it” before she jumped to a high spot he couldn’t reach.
He also confessed to stealing Bella and Finn. On the night of January 29, he jumped over the zoo’s fence and proceeded to the monkeys’ enclosure, which had no security cameras.
Irvin cut a hole in the mesh fence of the monkey habitat, grabbed the monkeys, and took the local DART train to the vacant community house.
The man is also suspected of being connected to a number of burglaries at the Dallas Zoo and in Lancaster. The cops suspect he’s involved in several pet supply thefts.
And he doesn’t plan to stop. Irvin said that if he’s let go, he’ll only steal more animals.
He’s being held in the Dallas County Jail on a bail of $25,000.