By Mike Frassinelli, STAR-LEDGER STAFF
OLD BRIDGE - With each passing day, the legend of the Middlesex County "mountain lion" continued to grow. A huge cat in Old Bridge was 3 feet tall, according to one description, and it had a big, wide head!
Frank Spiecker didn't see a mountain lion he was expecting when he went to the Cedar Ridge Estates development Thursday. But what he saw was a first for the wildlife control company president, who deals with alligators, muskrats, beavers and boa constrictors.
It was an orange-and-black spotted Savannah cat with long legs and ears, on a porch, hissing and growling. "Put it like this -- it's related to a cheetah," said Spiecker, who owns Harbor Wildlife Control.
Earlier in the afternoon, the big cat had reached into a cage on a porch and killed a domestic rabbit. Using a pole snare, Spiecker maneuvered the 30-pound animal into a cage. It was determined the cat belonged to a man on a nearby street and had been fending for itself for six months.
Spiecker last night was going to return it to the owner, who was said to have spent $15,000 to buy the exotic animal and in the fall sent out fliers in the neighborhood about the missing cat. Carlos Pou was at work when he got the harried call from his wife.
"There's a leopard in the backyard!" Marcelle Pou screamed.
Carlos Pou chalked it up to the mood swings that can accompany the early part of pregnancy, but rushed home. After the cat killed her 7-year-old son's pet rabbit as the boy arrived home from the school bus, Marcelle Pou's motherly instincts kicked in, and the pregnant woman chased off the big cat with a broom. Even though he felt bad for his son, Carlos Pou couldn't help but admire the big cat that was doing what it had to do to survive six months outside.
"This thing," he said, "was awesome."