Shocking news came out of Florida this week when a man was found to have a dead, frozen cougar in his freezer. No, we’re not talking about Ashton Kutcher having a psychotic break with his estranged wife Demi Moore (who for the record IS alive, so please no lawsuits). We’re talking about Palm Beach County resident, Gene Stimmler.
Police were called to his house when they received allegations that Stimmler, 73, had made lewd comments towards a 15-year-old boy. Joseph Valenzuela, the boy’s father, had been living with his son in a trailer on Stimmler’s property at the time of the offense. Valenzuela, an employee of Stimmler, also told Deputy Bryan Hack that Stimmler had a “large wild cat” that was “hidden in a freezer in the garage.” The frozen animal, Deputy Hack noted, “was brown in color and frozen in a live state, eyes open.” When the police opened up the freezer, they found themselves staring face-to-face with the frozen feline. It was surrounded by a large stock of mangoes and a couple of dead parrots (don’t worry, no Monty Python “Dead Parrot” jokes here).
When questioned by a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer, Stimmler claimed that he couldn’t remember how the animal died. “It just died,” Stimmler said, adding that he did not have the money for a necropsy. Asked if he had shot the cougar–as alleged by Valenzuela–Stimmler replied, “No.”
As well as the cougar, Stimmler has kept many wild and exotic animals on his 30-acre property such as a monkey, lemurs and exotic birds. Although he was not been charged with keeping any of these animals, he was busted last month when he allegedly stole Valenzuela’s pet chihuahua. Although I cannot confirm this, it was not found in his freezer next to his dead kitty.
I can relate to this story a little. My sister once kept a dead squirrel in our freezer. My family knew a taxidermist and he had promised to stuff it for her. Yes, that’s a tad strange. There’s nothing quite like fishing around for chicken nuggets and coming up with a dead squirrel. But I just can’t fathom freezing an entire cougar. There’d be no room to store ice cream.