Friday, 3 December 2010

Man Finds African Wild Cat Inside Barn

BLANCHESTER, Ohio -- An area man was shocked Tuesday morning when he saw an African wild cat outside his home.

Anthony Topmiller said he heard a growling sound when he opened his barn door to feed his cattle, and when he looked to see what it was, he saw what looked like a small cheetah about five feet away.

"I've never been afraid of an animal, but I will definitely say I was taken aback from this one," Topmiller said. "It sounds silly, but a 30-pound cat had my barn held hostage."

The animal was actually a serval, a medium-sized cat related to lions, hovering over a domestic cat it had just killed.

"It was not wanting to leave its prey, so we considered him fairly dangerous and called the proper authorities to come in and help us with this animal," Topmiller said.

Animal control officers picked up the serval, which a neighbor claims belongs to her.

The woman said she has been looking for the female serval, which she has raised from a baby and named Eris, since it escaped nine days ago.

She said the animal is valued at about $3,000.

The dog warden said Ohio has almost no regulations on wild animals such as this one.

"People need to be trained on what they're doing," Topmiller said. "We can't have these things wild like this. It's become a public safety (issue), and that's exactly what happened yesterday."

The serval remains with animal control officers while the neighbor attempts to regain custody.

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