Okla Woman and Disabled Kangaroo Must Find a New Home

After seeking to remain in her home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, with Irwin, her disabled kangaroo, Christie Carr is planning to move to Wild Heart Ranch, a wildlife rehabilitation center. While Broken Arrow officials had  approved an amended exotic animal ordinance in May allowing her to keep Irwin under certain conditions, animal control officers have said that she is violating a city ordinance about keeping exotic animals because she has not completed the final application for her exotic animal permit. Carr contends that she “had worked with the city to complete the process but hadn’t received the final paperwork from the city.”

On learning that she could be fined or Irwin would be seized, Carr has gone to live with her parents’ in McAlester. She and Irwin will move into a place in Wild Heart Ranch after it is ready.

Carr’s and Irwin’s current predicament is an unfortunate development especially as it had seemed possible for them to stay in Broken Arrow. Irwin is certified as a therapy pet under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In May, the  Broken Arrow City Council had voted to create an exotic animal ordinance exemption to allow Carr to keep Irwin, a red kangaroo, under certain conditions:  She had to acquire a $50,000 liability insurance policy for any injuries inflicted by Irwin, as well as certification that he had appropriate housing that met all federal and state guidelines for licensing.  Carr was also told that she must inform her neighbors that she has a pet kangaroo.

City officials had feared that Irwin could pose a threat to public safety. A healthy male great red kangaroo can weigh 200 pounds when fully grown, stand up to 7 feet high and jump 25 feet in one leap. But Irwin, who fractured his neck and suffered brain damage when he ran into a fence (before Carr met him), cannot stand or walk on his own. Veterinarians say that he will most likely  not grow larger than 50 pounds, due to his injuries and to being neutered.

Certainly Carr devotes one-on-one care to Irwin, changing his diapers routinely and feeding him salad, raw vegetables, kangaroo chow, popcorn and cheese-flavored snacks as an occasional treat. MSNBC describes Carr’s attentive care:

The marsupial never leaves the house without first getting dressed. The clothes — a little boy’s shirt cut and sewed to accommodate his neck, sometimes a tie, and jeans or slacks with a hole cut for the tail — are necessary for therapeutic reasons and to protect him against germs, Carr said.

On a recent afternoon at his Broken Arrow home, Irwin was flopped in a beanbag chair and playing with a chew toy. Carr kneeled down with a plate of veggies and filed his nails. When it came time to play, Irwin could only manage a few imbalanced hops before tumbling to the ground.

At a meeting of the Broken Arrow City Council, Carr said of the kangaroo, ”Irwin is my life. He’s given me strength.”

Carr, who is not able to work due to her health, was not able to pay for the insurance but an anonymous donor had stepped in and paid it. But due to the dispute with the Broken Arrow City Council — a spokeswoman, Stephanie Higgins, says that Carr “has not filled out the application to keep Irwin within the city limits” — it seems that she and Irwin must find a new home. Hopefully after they have, there will be no dispute about their residing there.

Related Care2 Coverage

Okla Woman Determined To Keep Disabled Kangaroo, Irwin

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Caged Kangaroo Experiment Won’t Happen



Photo of red kangaroo by Loren Sztajer


Julia Tawyea'
Julia Tawyea'6 years ago

Being that Irwin is a registered theropy animal the city has no right to do anyrthing to seperate them, nor make them move.. If I was her, I'd sue the city..

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe6 years ago

I think Christie Carr and Irwin belong together. She is therapy for him and he is therapy for her.
Give her the exemption so they can remain together and help each other out!!!

Jackie Agusta
Jackie Agusta6 years ago

Wow they get you from every direction. Fair play to her for trying to help the animal, it's more than most would and she obviously loves him very much :-)

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S6 years ago

The nurturing Carr gives her kangaroo is so sweet. Good luck Christine and Irwin! It's impressive the support that Broken Arrow and the community is providing to help Carr keep her disabled kangaroo. I don't think we can fault the city for requiring the proper paperwork to be filled out completely - someone should help Carr fill it out if she's having trouble with the legalese. Based on this article, IMO, the city is only trying to ensure the best care for both Christine and Irwin - it's very commendable.

Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley6 years ago

It's a shame that they're being forced to move. I hope they find a safe home and environment in the future.

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Nancy L.
Nancy L6 years ago

CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO of Irwin and Christie! He's so little!!


Nancy L.
Nancy L6 years ago

I hope this has a good ending.

mari s.
Mari S6 years ago

it would be nice if common sense ruled when things get complicated -- it's obvious to me that Irwin does NOT pose any threat to society -- why is it not obvious to the local politicians, who make Christie jump through God knows how many hoops -- just fill out the appropriate paperwork and allow her to keep Irwin.

Zana Zatanique
Jan Alexanian6 years ago

I agree with James C and Rossy O. This seems to be a one off case and that they mutually benefit each other. Taking all data presented here into account, I believe that under the current set up, they should be allowed to continue living together. Shame on the bureaucrats who seem to be trying to foul up the process as much as possible.