African cat escapes from Bayview home

"See a big cat?Anyone who sees the missing African serval should call Island County Animal Control at 321-5111. Cougar or other wildcat reports can be made by calling the State Patrol at 1-360-757-1175. The Patrol will pass on the report to state Wildlife agents.A domesticated African serval wildcat displayed some ingenuity by escaping from his Bayview area home Friday, June 30.Owner Tiffany Cartier, who lives at Sunlight Shores, said the cat was able to open a locked bedroom window and make his escape. It was a slide lock, which the cat somehow managed to pull up, freeing the window.Cartier said there is no chance this is the big cat reportedly seen in the Goss Lake area in mid-June. Although she's had the cat for about a year, the neutered male was accounted for in her house until last Friday.Cartier welcomes the public's help in finding her cat, but she advises against trying to catch it even though it has been declawed. He wouldn't attack anybody, she said Monday. But if he gets cornered he will defend himself.Island County Animal Control Officer Carol Barnes said anyone who sees a big cat should call her office at 321-5111 during working hours. She described the missing serval as weighing about 30 pounds. Its name is Cujo and its color is cream with black spots and stripes down its back.Technically, according to Barnes, Cartier should not have brought the cat into Island County. An ordinance in effect since 1998 prohibits a number of animals, including wolf hybrids, wild cat hybrids, or any member of the cat family not customarily domesticated by man.Cartier said she was unaware of the ordinance, and her island veterinarian never mentioned it.Barnes acknowledged that there are people in the county who possess animals outlawed by the 1998 ordinance. One woman has owned two cougars for 15 years, for example, and another raises a bobcat hybrid called pixiebobs. Cartier said she has been told of a club of wild cat owners, although she's never attended a meeting. Whether these animals were grandfathered in when the ordinance took effect remains controversial."

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