‘They are not dangerous animals’: Judge allows Calgary engineer to bring emotional support lion to work

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A lion in an office.

CALGARY, Alberta – A sense of calm comes over Danny Jenkins, P.Eng. when he’s with Rufus. The production engineer with Calgary-based PeopleMinus Energy has suffered severe anxiety since the oil and gas industry took a significant turn for the worst in early 2015.

Spending time with his furry little buddy, who just so happens to be a 5-year old Katanga lion from Botswana that weighs in at 243 kg, has provided a safe haven during these difficult economic times.

Now an Alberta Judge has just made it easier for Mr. Jenkins to spend more time with Rufus by way of a ruling that allows him to bring the Panthera Leo to work. “They are not dangerous animals,” said Judge Judy Rickenflookter with the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in her ruling.

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Danny Jenkins, P.Eng., production engineer

“When I’m close to Rufus, I feel safe, and petting him really makes my stress melt away,” he says. “What calms me down the most is knowing that he will now be there to protect me no matter what grief I get from my colleagues at work and I feel that I have a better chance of surviving a round of layoffs.”

Since yesterday’s precedent-setting ruling, Jenkins has already formally registered his “pal” as a wildlife emotional support animal under a new city program and picked up Rufus’ special service animal harness. Under this program, the city of Calgary has agreed to issue a special transit pass that will allow Rufus on C-trains and busses provided he is with Mr. Jenkins.

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Hopeful that the court ruling would go in his favour, Mr. Jenkins spent the past few months training Rufus for the office environment. According to notes found in his downtown Calgary office at the PeopleMinus headquarters, he has trained Rufus as follows:

  1. I want him to growl at geoscientists who don’t agree with me.
  2. He will protect my lunch. Somebody messes with my lunch, that person will become his lunch.
  3. Under no circumstance will Rufus will allow anybody from HR within a 5m radius of me or my desk.
  4. Every 2 hours, I want Rufus to slowly walk past the CEO’s office with a “mess with Danny and I will personally eff you up!” look on his face. So take that, Lamont Funbass.
  5. Rufus will seek out hand-drawn maps and destroy them, and any crayons used to create them.

Further to this training, the Senior Director of Office Management Solutions will have to make the following provisions to accommodate the new service animal within the office space:

  • Rufus will be setup with a special litter box, no smaller than 8’ x 10’ and 24” deep, that is filled with cuttings from the analysis room floor. Litter box must be changed every 30 minutes.
  • A wildlife dietitian, who specializes in Western African large felines, will ensure that Rufus’ diet of 70 lbs of combined dolphin and shark meat is provided for every 8-hour shift.
  • Signage around the office will be posted that explains how staff is to approach the lion and to ensure that he is petted in prime strokes (for our dear readers who are skillfully trained in the art of geology, that means petted in strokes of 1, 3, 5, 7, etc. times or f(n) = [n!mod(n+1)/n]*(n-1)+2, where n is a positive integer).

Mr. Jenkins closed his interview with 2P News by saying, “I am really looking forward to bringing Rufus to work next Monday. Not only do I feel more secure about my job with him around, but he’s more affectionate and he shows far more personality than most of the people in my office, especially those geology types.”

2P News is following this story very closely and will update readers as new information becomes available.

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