A Pakistani man who took his pet lioness for a ride in the back of a pickup truck was charged with public harassment Thursday after footage from startled bystanders went viral.
In the video posted on social media, the big cat can be seen reclining in the bed of the truck, a paw lolling over the ledge and seemingly unfazed by the heavy traffic inching through a chaotic street in the city of Karachi.
Pedestrians jostling through the cars stumble into clawing ranging but the lion which is wearing a collar and a leash held by a man in the vehicle just yawns.
Police said Saqlain Javed, a local pet dealer in his thirties, was arrested after a concerned citizen made a complaint.
Javed, however, said he was taking the animal to the vet and had all the required permits and documentation.
“We have freed the accused on bail but registered a case of negligent conduct with an animal,” Muqadas Haider, a senior police officer said.
In the video a woman can be heard asking: “Who will take responsibility if something were to happen?” and wondering whether the animal is an endangered breed.
The clip has been viewed over one million times on Facebook, where people criticized the owner for cruelty and suggested he was showing off his wealth.
Others decried the general lawlessness that exists in the fast-growing country of 200 million, where despite recent economic and security gains the rich and powerful are able to commit crimes with impunity.