Man says he regrets petting Columbus Zoo's cougars

COLUMBUS, OH (KTRK) -- A man is charged with trespassing after video showed him jumping a fence to pet two cougars. He now wishes he had never done it.

Columbus Zoo officials say the video was reckless and called it alarming, but they were relieved neither 35-year-old Joshua M. Newell or the cougars were hurt.

"That was a very bad decision," Newell told WCMH-TV. "If I had to do it over, I definitely would have stayed within the barrier boundaries. I was thinking, I'm an animal lover. The cats were looking like they wanted some love and (I) just jumped over and petted them."

It's unclear when the video was taken, but Newell posted the video on YouTube on Tuesday.

The sheriff's office continues to investigate whether he was alone when the video was taken.

The 35-year-old is due in court on Wednesday. He says he's going to be fined, he just hopes he's not banned from the zoo.
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