Okla Woman Determined To Keep Disabled Kangaroo, Irwin

Christie Carr first met Irwin, a red kangaroo, at an animal sanctuary near Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Carr, who suffers from depression, had volunteered there on the advice of her therapist. A week later, Irwin (who is named for Australian animal expert Steve Irwin) ran into a fence, fractured his neck and suffered severe brain damage. Carr volunteered to take him home and developed a bond with Irwin, who is now officially certified as a therapy pet under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

However, officials in Broken Arrow have some, if not many, concerns about what might happen if Irwin were to regain full mobility. Currently, his veterinarian, Dr. Lesleigh Cash Warren, does not think Irwin will grow to more than 50 pounds due to his accident, noting that 

Irwin cannot be judged as any normal kangaroo…He is a unique animal due to his disabilities and will require a lifetime of care and concern for his welfare.

Healthy male great red kangaroos can weight 200 pounds when full grown and stand up to 7 feet high. They can bound 25 feet in one leap. But Irwin currently cannot stand or walk on his own; he is slowly gaining mobility and can hop three or four times in a row with assistance.

Carr cares for him full-time: 

Carr, who is unable to work because of her health, changes Irwin’s diaper several times a day. She feeds him salad, raw veggies, kangaroo chow, popcorn and the occasional Cheez-Its or a handful of Cheetos. 

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. 

The 1-year-old animal never leaves Carr’s side for more than an hour, often accompanying her on errands and going out to eat. He rides in a car seat before being placed in a pouch when going out in public.

Carr says that “Irwin will not live if I have to give him up” and that “I can’t imagine a day living without him.” She would rather leave Broken Arrow than give up Irwin.

Irwin has a Facebook page and, so far, almost 1,000 friends (and he’s on Twitter). Certainly he has one in Carr.


Photo of a red kangaroo (not Irwin) by No Dust.


colleen p.
colleen p6 years ago

you can certify anything as a therepay pet without double licensees? do you need one for kangaroos or are they considered livestock?

colleen p.
colleen p6 years ago

pamela s. it was said in the other topic. if a zoo had him on display wearing clothing people would demand the zoo get shut down.

pamela schaub
pamela schaub6 years ago

The kangaroo has a veterinarian... he was not euthanized for a reason... he's makin' slow progress for the better... i think if this was a chihuahua, w/ a shirt, and diapers, the coments below would've been a lot different.. maybe "ooh, that lady's so nice..." blah blah blah but because it's someone w/ something DIFFERENT, that's an opportunity to gang up and BASH the woman... she's in a depression... let's use that, too...

Kim W.
Kim W.6 years ago

Reading through some of these comments obviously coming from Australian residents, it is astounding how you think you can speak for all Oz wildlife carers. Striped of our licences. What rubbish. I care for 'unreleasables' and DEC renews my licence every year. Does this make me cruel? Who cares what you think. All my kangaroos are healthy and happy and yes, get the odd treat. Tell me how many of you whingers give unnatural treats to your domestic pets. Yeah hypocrits. All animals were once WILD. Kangaroos AREN'T WILD in America. Stop getting so hyper over this, you type of Aussies are embarassing, and I doubt any of you have any University qualifications in kangaroos? I suppose severly disabled (not that Irwin is) humans should be treated the same way as you want to see happen to Irwin. NO, I DIDN'T THINK SO!!! What is the difference? You black or white thinking people are probaby thinking along the lines of human are more valuable so deserve to live totally disabled. Humans are valuable, no matter what, so are special animals valuable. You are all sounding like a 'stuck record' and for this Aussie, embarassing and callous.

Gordon W.
Gordon Wilkinson6 years ago

Its a very sad situation when someone believes treating a wild animal in this way is helping them. This is the worst kind of cruelty that is imaginable, its this so called carer that need to be in a hospital for treatment. Wild animals do not eat Cheetos and neither do they dress up - This is just a big money making scheme and those that think she is doing right need help too.

Stephanie N.
Stephanie N.6 years ago

Steve Irwin, this kangaroo's name sake would be rolling over in his grave to be seeing an animal such as this one being treated in such a manner. Zoo and wildlife carers main priority when treating an animal and nursing it back to health is firstly is it possible that we will be able release the animal in the future? Then what affect will the treatment have on the animals state of mind and the stress factor. If it can not be released or at least live outside with its own kind in the future the animal is put down so it does not suffer. Feeding Irwin the diet that he is fed is affecting his health greatly and Ms Carr is prolonging his suffering and to which end? Because she can not handle parting with him because she loves him. Many people feel this way about any animal they love but MOST of us do not prolong it's suffering. We show we love them by ending it's suffering. Ms Carr needs to grow up and get help for herself and not use Irwin as a crutch for her own issues. He will die and much sooner than later because of the way see is treating him. The authorities should not bow to public pressure and as said the cute factor. We are talking about a living breathing feeling animal here and not a teddy bear. Irwin does not need to wear clothes either nature provided what he needed.

Sonja E.
Sonja Elwood6 years ago

As a long term Australian wildlife carer I can tell you that this woman would be stripped of her rehabilitation license and prosecuted under animal cruelty laws in this country. Her treatment of this animal is neurotic and abusive. My heart goes out to Irwin..........he really needs help to get away from this carer and she needs to seek help for her mental illness.

Past Member
Past Member 6 years ago

This is not something Steve Irwin would've agreed with. Not that i can speak for him, but this is simply no way for a roo to live, therapeutic or not. its not doing him any good at all.

kellie payne
kellie payne6 years ago

Everyone needs to take a step back and look into the ANIMALS welfare. I even have to go as far and ask of the people who think Irwin should stay with Miss Carr, how much PERSONAL experience have you had with raising kangaroos - RED kangaroos??

The diet for one, will kill him. The passing around at old peoples home, will kill him. The fact that he has runny poos instead of solid pebbles, will kill him. SHE is killing him!!!!

Many people have tried to help Miss Carr in what she should do to feed him and treat him correctly, but she is unwilling to listen - and these people who are talking to are not just the old 'dont know a thing about it' kind. They are experts and have been dealing with RED kangaroos all their lives.

The whole situation makes me sick to the core. This animal is clearly stressed and needs to be set free - and yes, by set free - I mean destroyed. His way of life is Nill, he will never hop like a kangaroo - he cannot hold his food like a kangaroo does. America sees our kangaroos as pets - they are NOT pets, and there is a reason for this.

So, everyone PLEASE stop looking at this from your hearts and start and look at this from a logic point - look at it from Irwin's point. He is not happy, he is stressed - any person who has had anything to do with kangaroos will tell you this - all we have to do is look at the pictures of him.

Miss Carr, get yourself a dog (and even then, I pity the dog).

Past Member
Past Member 6 years ago

@roesann s
There are many people concern for Irwin’s health. I can assure you that in Australia that no-one would attempt to raise a kangaroo with Irwin’s issues. NOT because we are cruel or heartless but because we know as ‘experienced’ carers it’s just cruel and morally wrong. Wildlife Carer’s in Australia are actually quite a close network of people working together sharing their knowledge. We might still disagree on what “roo milk” is best but we would never subject a kangaroo to what Irwin is being subjected to. (I’m hoping other carer’s don’t shoot me down for speaking on behalf of them).

In your post you seem to be more concerned with Ms Carr’s “mental issues” and the “joy and love to the grieving heart and other infirmities”, than with Irwin’s welfare. No-one is questioning her devotion to this kangaroo or love for him. I think people do worry though about her mental state when it comes to making the ‘right’ decision for Irwin.

It seems that many of the people that have commented have some experience (like myself) with marsupial care. We are well educated on what is in the best interest of a kangaroo like Irwin. I am personally using this whole media circus to educate those that are less in the know. The ‘cute’ factor and Ms Carr’s mental state are not reasons to prolong this kangaroo’s life.