Wildlife in the News

Solving Human & Wildlife Conflicts for over 30 Years

Feline causes uproar - Savannah cat spotted, caught, reunited with owner
by Susan Loyer • Staff Writer
News 12 Reports on Serval/Savannah Cat

OLD BRIDGE — A Savannah cat caused a bit of a stir in the Cedar Ridge Estates development on Thursday.
Police responded to a report of a large cat, about the size of a small leopard, running in the Pemberton Drive neighborhood about 5:48 p.m., Old Bridge Township Police Captain Robert Bonfante said. Upon arrival, police began canvassing the area.

The Savannah cat, a cross between a serval and domestic cat, had been mistaken for a mountain lion by some neighbors in Cedar Ridge Estates, Frank Spiecker of the Old Bridge-based Harbor Wildlife Control, said. Residents started to fear for their pets’ safety, while the unidentified cat was running at large, he said.

Prior to the cat’s capture, it had taken a pet rabbit from a backyard of a home in the neighborhood, Spiecker said.
Spiecker was called to the scene and traps were set up in the neighborhood. “Not long after I got a call from police that the cat was sitting on someone’s front porch chaise lounge,’’ he said. Because the cat was wearing a radio tracking collar, Spiecker believed it belonged to someone and didn’t want to see the cat euthanized.

Eventually, Spiecker was able to use a snare pole to catch the cat. The cat has been missing since November, Spiecker said. A Cedar Ridge Estates’ resident thought they had seen a flier about the cat some months ago. Police eventually located a flier and contacted the owner, who also lives in the development.

Spiecker said he would be reuniting the cat and its owner Friday evening.
Susan Loyer: 732-565-7243; sloyer@ njpressmedia.com 

Cat-astrophe averted:
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." 

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