American comedian Mike Epps has been captured on camera with a leashed kangaroo on stage during a performance in Detroit for the Festival of Laughs tour. The incident, which was published on social media, has attracted backlash online over concerns for the animal's welfare.
The kangaroo was hauled onstage fitted with a harness. It belongs to 'Exotic Zoo', a travelling animal exhibition run by Javon Stacks that travels to schools, libraries and children's birthday parties.
Earlier in the week, Stacks was spotted walking the streets of Detroit with the kangaroo, sparking fears that it was acquired through the exotic animal trade.
The use of the animal during the performance has again raised concerns for the wellbeing of the kangaroo.
Mike Epps was holding the kangaroo dancing then gone run off stage😭😭😭 wtf pic.twitter.com/Kgn9dKMrBX— Bri Baby (@imBRIANA_) April 2, 2017
Whyyyy did they bring the kangaroo on stage at Mike Epps show 😩😭. I love Detroit pic.twitter.com/DoqNu4jcf6— Amber ♍ (@_AmNico) April 1, 2017
Mike Epps reportedly told TMZ that the animal was not harmed in any way and the harness was preferable to a collar which could have injured the kangaroo. Epps posted a video to Facebook of him feeding a banana to a different kangaroo with the caption, "Yeh look how nice Iam 2 him! Theses guys are license zoo keepers ! #iloveanimals."
While it is illegal to keep kangaroos in Detroit, the handler could be based in other state where exotic pets are legal.
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