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Family Fighting to Keep Unusual Pet For Special Needs Daughter

Family Fighting to Keep Unusual Pet For Special Needs Daughter

Jeni and Nick Dreis, a couple in Texas, are fighting to keep a beloved member of their family, their baby kangaroo Mike. Mike has been with the family for a month and is closest to the Dreis' 16-year-old daughter Kayla, who has Down syndrome. 

On February 20th the family was shocked to receive a letter from their homeowner's association demanding they immediately remove the kangaroo from their property. But the family insists that Mike is no different than any other pet. Mike currently only weighs 10 pounds and is almost entirely an indoor pet, spending a few minutes each day in the family's yard, which is surrounded by a 5-foot fence.

The family plans to keep Mike for one year, after which he will live at a wildlife park run by Texas Downs. The couple started this wildlife preserve, organic farm, and education center to enrich the lives of children like Kayla by offering them academic and life skills classes, social programs, and vocational training. 


When asked how she would feel is she were to lose Mike, Kayla responded, "I would cry."

Read the full story at Daily Mail.

Are any of your kids especially close to the family pet?

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CyndieKam CyndieKam 5 years
I am a wildlife biologist, and know first hand the dangers that wild animals can pose. They are very different from domesticated pets. An adult kangaroo can easlily kill a human with it's powerful legs. It may seem cute and sweet now, but it's natural "wild" instincts can kick in at any time. Better safe than sorry in this situation ... if she could visit the kangaroo at a wildlife santuary, and maybe find a domestic pet to keep in the home.
BonnieAnderson11938 BonnieAnderson11938 5 years
I come from the Land Down Under, and I agree that a kangaroo is supposed to be in it's original setting or someplace similar, not in a family home situation. I could understand if the family lived in a park for animals, but this is not similar to "Skippy" situation. They are wild animals and have flight and fight instincts. They cannot help this, and this animal could become too dependant and dangerous to keep even within the year. This young girl need a domestic pet, she can care for, bond with and love/keep. I agree with the homeowners association, there has to be a line drawn, or more animals would slide on into the neighborhood and may cause issues, animals do get out. Wild animals can be aggressive and hard to recover, and even if they are harmless, many people do not know how to take care of wild animals safely.
JaneBorleis JaneBorleis 5 years
A kangaroo is a wild animal and should not be kept as a pet. Also won't it be harder to give it up after having it a year than after a much shorter time.
YvonneRoshong YvonneRoshong 5 years
I really feel for this child, but a Kangaroo is not in the correct habitat and surroundings it will need later when they release him to the refuge center. I have to agree, as a pet lover, that their is probably a strong bond with these two, however a kangaroo is a wild animal and should be treated as such. The child can learn a lot by helping this little guy find a suitable foster home at a zoo or wildlife center and perhaps be able to still visit or help with his care! Could anyone offer this type of arrangement? I would then as a parent find her a suitable pet that will not be taken from her in a years time anyway. That will be more traumatic when she has really bonded with the animal, or it hurts her in someway, in a year. Kangas are not domestic pets. Sorry Dreis family! Your kangaroo needs to find a suitable home and habitat now.
FionaNoakes FionaNoakes 5 years
Sorry, but anyone who thinks it is a good idea for a child of any age to have a kangaroo as a pet, is an idiot. It is a WILD animal and can be very aggressive as they get older. Get Karla a normal everyday pet that she doesn't have to give up in a years. time. It's really not that hard to work out, is it?
JoleneTripp JoleneTripp 5 years
This is a ridiculous story. First off I have worked with many students with Downs and they are amazing people and able to adapt and cope quite well - with or without a kangaroo. This story does them a disservice because it implies they need an exotic pet to adjust. There are different manifestations of Downs and some learn faster and easier than others, but aren’t all kids like that? Second why is it ok for this Downs student to lose this pet to a wildlife park in a year but not now? Will she cry any less in a year? Third kangaroos are wild animals and like all wild animals can be aggressive. Thus the term “wild animal.” Fourth, the family knew this moving into a place with a homeowners association. So if this would be an issue why move there? Again ridiculous story without any real merit or rational justification for keeping this kangaroo.
KathyZalenko KathyZalenko 5 years
My son Ben, who is autistic, was VERY attached to our parrot Reggie. Ben was the only one that could touch or play with him. It's like Reggie knew he was different. Unfortunately we think Reggie died suddenly from aheart problem and it took a long time for Ben to get over losing him.
BeeJayMcKee BeeJayMcKee 5 years
How much is that "Pet" going to be loved when it is 5 feet tall and kicks her hard? A kangaroo is as much as a pet as a bear cub, dear, or tiger. Its not a domesticated pet and it doesnt matter how long you keep it, it will end in dissaster.
HollyGomez HollyGomez 5 years
Americans with Disabilities Act... and a lawyer..
TerrieHumphries TerrieHumphries 5 years
This is not a domesticated animal and could actually be a danger to their child when it is full grown.
KelliePile KelliePile 5 years
Kangaroos are not pets they should be out in the bush where they belong in Australia not in someone's house, we certainly don't have them as pets here in Australia.
LukithiaEvans LukithiaEvans 5 years
I would keep fighting since there is a plan in place and it helps the child. I live in public housing and there are some pets that are not allowed but with a reasonable accommodation given under my daughter's medical providers stipulation we have her animals.
BarbaraCreasy BarbaraCreasy 5 years
Homeowners Associations exist for a reason, and many people move to subdivisions because of them. If you don't like the rules in the Homeowner's Association, then you shouldn't live there. They aren't secret - you agree to them when you move in. Personally, I don't think a kangaroo is a good pet, but if it is or not, if it's against the HOA rules, the choice is move or get rid of it. The idea that you operate a wildlife park in a subdivision is ridiculous! They need to move to the countryside.
SarahRoseMcGuire SarahRoseMcGuire 5 years
Really. What is wrong with these people (the homeowners association). They obviously own a wildlife park and know what they are doing. I think some of the nastiest people in the world are always members of either home owners or condo associations. Get a life people!
crystaltitus crystaltitus 5 years
A kangaroo is an aggressive wild animal. They should not be allowed to keep this kind of animal in the City. What happens if this wild animal snaps for no aparent reason and hurts someone. Sorry I would be very upset if this was my neighbor.
KayeFielding KayeFielding 5 years
Good God whats the matter with these People (The home Owners Ass) Thee owners said the Baby Kangaroo is going into the Wild Life Park at 12 months Which is still very young....& it needs them at the moment as baby Kangaroos are very needy,just like our own babys.For goodness sake there must be more important things for the home owners ass to worry about...(I have had a baby kangaroo & Know what you mean.) Australian...Kaye.
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