When Jon and Vivian Freed’s cat, Tyra, escaped from their Morganton, North Carolina, home last month, the couple did everything they could to ensure their pet’s safe return. They posted stories and pictures on social media, encouraged their neighbors to spread the word and even spoke to local TV stations.
Tyra was found and returned within four days, but her disappearance alerted city officials to, well, the fact that she exists —and now the Freeds have been told that she has to go, WSOC-TV in Charlotte reports.
Tyra is a Serval cat, a small wild cat that is native to Africa, south of the Sahara desert. Although Servals are not illegal in the state of North Carolina — nor in the county — there is a city ordinance that prohibits exotic animals, according to WSOC. The Freeds have been given until Sept. 28, 2015, to remove Tyra from the city limits (and what’s sadly ironic is that the Freeds themselves just moved to Morganton in mid-August).
The Freeds told WSOC that they were “shocked” by the city’s decision.
“She’s like one of our kids,” Jon Freed told the station. “How do you give away one of your kids?”
Mayor supports the family and just fed the cat. pic.twitter.com/uZmzUdAZps
— Dave Faherty (@FahertyWSOC9) September 9, 2015
Morganton Mayor Mel Cohen is supporting the family, and has been to see Tyra. The city council will be discussing Tyra’s fate at a meeting next Monday night, and neighbors have given their support by signing a petition in favor of allowing her to stay.
Tyra, if only you hadn’t escaped…