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Amateur Zoo Found in Apartment Basement

An Arctic fox, raccoon, pheasant, stork and other fauna have been discovered in the basement of a high-rise apartment building in Novgorod.

A 52-year-old apartment resident is now facing an inquiry for his initiative to organize this amateur zoo.

Fellow homeowners discovered cages holding a raccoon, rabbit, pheasant, stork, parrot, guinea pig, foxes and ducks in their apartment's basement and reported the situation to local authorities, the local Web portal reported Monday. Some have also claimed that the animal-loving tenant was keeping a monkey and a crocodile in his private quarters.

Video footage by residents shows the animals cramped into beat-up, dirty cages without access to any natural light. Social welfare organizations have called these conditions inhumane, but the zoo keeper said he received an oral agreement from the head of the homeowner association to keep the animals.

An investigation is currently underway to determine how healthy the animals are and whether the tenant has the rights to keep them in the apartment basement.

This is not a unique case of Russians wanting to bring more wildlife into their abodes. One man from the republic of Udmurtia was barred from keeping a wolf in his apartment in 2007 after he was sighted walking the animal on the street without a muzzle.

A Siberian family has also kept a boa constrictor named Sharik in their apartment. The large snake was ultimately handed over to a zoo earlier this year after it had attempted to go after the couple's 3-year-old son.

The owner of a plumbing service in Novosibirsk has opted to get a crocodile to attract visitors to his store. The crocodile still lives in the store, swims in the bathtub and sunbathes under a lamp.

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