Christie Carr kisses Irwin the kangaroo at the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park, where they now live, in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.

Christie Carr kisses Irwin the kangaroo at the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park, where they now live, in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. Photo: AP

Wynnewood, Oklahoma: A woman and her pet kangaroo have found a new home after battling a city council in the US over her right to keep the animal.

Two years after fighting a city council in northeastern Oklahoma over her right to keep a "therapy kangaroo," Christie Carr found a home for her red kangaroo at an exotic animal park. And Carr has found some relief from her depression.

"Just me and him together, it's almost like he was feeding off my depression," said Carr. 

On a recent weekday morning at The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park, Irwin, fresh from playing in the dirt, sat on a cushy chair in a wooden pen next to Carr. He later fussed with Larsen, a baby Siberian tiger, in the staff house.

The new home, Carr said, is good for both Irwin and herself. He's able to interact with other people and some animals, and her emotional life is enriched by being around all the animals.

"Just me and him together, it's almost like he was feeding off my depression," said Carr, who lives in the zoo's staff house. "He likes people, he likes to be around people and here, there is something always going on."

Irvin had been nursed back to health after he was partially paralysed from running into a fence a few years ago.

Carr and three-year-old Irwin arrived at the zoo after spats with officials in Broken Arrow. Carr's therapist had certified Irwin as a therapy pet under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But city officials initially feared Irwin could pose a threat to the public's safety.

Healthy male great red kangaroos can grow to 2.1 metres tall, weigh more than 90 kilograms and bound 7.5 metres in a single leap. But veterinarians said Irwin would probably not grow larger than 22.5 kilograms because of the injury and because he has been neutered. Irwin has gained about nine kilograms during the past two years and is now able to hop better.

The city council eventually voted to create an exotic animal ordinance exemption that allowed Carr to keep Irwin within city limits under certain conditions. The permit required exotic animal owners to, among other things, have a $US50,000 liability insurance policy for any injuries inflicted by the animal, certification that the animal has adequate housing and meet all federal and state guidelines for licensing. An anonymous donor paid for Carr's insurance policy.

But growing frustration with city officials caused Carr to move herself and Irwin first to Claremore, then to her parents' home in McAlester and, in March, to the zoo.

AP