The owners of a serval cat in North Carolina are fighting local government to keep their cat, which the town government considers an exotic pet.
Jon and Vivian Freed live in the city limits of Morganton. They have a serval cat named Tyra, whom they consider one of their children. Tyra gained attention this summer shortly after the Freed family moved into the area and Tyra escaped from her new home.
Tyra had been declawed (most “pet servals” are) when she was younger so the didn’t pose any threat to people. An escaped serval was enough to make the headlines in the small community. She returned a few days later, but by then she had received celebrity status.
After Morganton city officials learned they had a serval living amongst them the letter came. The Freed family have little more than two weeks to move Tyra out of city limits or face civil penalties. In a report by WSOC TV Jon said
“We’re absolutely crushed. We love where we are. We wanted to live in the city. Servals are apparently fine with the county and the state, but there is a city ordinance.”
Here’s a short news video of Tyra at home.
The Freed family is fighting back with an online petition found here. More than 3,100 people have signed the petition already. Listed below are some key points they bring up as to why Tyra needs to stay with her people.
- We have had Tyra since she was a baby;
- Servals don’t re-home well (and we DO NOT want to get rid of her);
- Servals don’t re-bond – so are relegated to a zoo or a love-less adoption;
- We moved to NC in part because of the state’s acceptance of servals!
Mayor Mel Cohen is also supporting the family. He stopped by last week and fed Tyra cheese and shrimp and verified Tyra is a tame cat and no danger to the community. Cohen says he’ll do everything he can to ensure Tyra stays with her family.
Tyra’s case could go before the Morganton City Council as early as next week. The Freed family is willing to bring her to the meeting to show city leaders just how wonderful she is. Let’s all wish them luck as they fight to remain in the Morganton community.
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