BROOKHAVEN, Ga. — Wildlife officers are on the hunt for what one person claims is their declawed pet. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says it’s no pet, however; it’s a wild African cat.
Kristine Frank was startled awake early one morning last week when a serval, a large exotic cat, hopped into her bed after her husband left the door open while letting the dog outside to use the bathroom.
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“The story always seems to start, whenever it’s told, with ‘the idiot husband left the door open,’” David Frank joked.
“I hear this thump in my bed. Like something has landed in my bed,” she told Channel 2′s Sophia Choi. “And then it hops off my bed and that’s when I was saying, ‘That’s not a normal house cat.’”
She called for her husband who then locked eyes with the animal.
The Franks escaped the bedroom, they realized they locked their phones in the same room of their historic Brookhaven home as the serval, so they couldn’t call for help.
The couple opened a back door that opened onto their back porch to get the cat out of their home. They were able to snap a couple of photos as it left their house near the Capital City Country Club at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.
“It’s some decent-sized, wild-looking cat,” David Frank told Choi. “As far as I was concerned, it may as well have been a nine-foot tiger.”
Since then, plenty of people in the neighborhood have reported seeing the serval in the area.
One neighborhood flyer describes the serval as a “declawed pet” that escaped and asks neighbors to give the cat named Nala some food and give them a call.
Georgia DNR says it is illegal to own a wild cat in the state of Georgia. They add that no one answers the phone when they attempt to contact the alleged owner.
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They are working to trap the serval, and ask anyone who sees it to give them a call.
“I would not approach it to feed it, but if you could throw something, and it would come to it, and hold it there for a period of time and give us a call, that would be great,” said Lieutenant Wayne Hubbard with DNR.
The Franks say they are worried about the cat knowing it is someone’s pet. Wildlife advocates are encouraging everyone to remember that it’s still wild and therefore dangerous.
“Thankfully, in this situation, no one was hurt,” said Alicia Prygoski with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “But you can imagine how this could have turned out differently if there was a child in the home.”
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The Franks say as the serval was leaving their home, it gave them a feisty goodbye by turning around, making eye contact one more time and hissing at them.
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