A brief history of Jersey’s weirdest pets
For anyone who ever thought Paterson could be a jungle at times, an exotic Savannah cat seems to have confirmed that this week. The cat, which is a cross between an African cat called a serval and a domestic cat, was spotted walking along Mill Street and alarmed citizens quickly called authorities. The cat was tranquilized and brought to Wildlife Freedom in Wanaque.
They believe it's someone's pet and if so hopefully they'll be reunited. Some states ban Savannah cats but I've read multiple published reports stating it's unclear whether Jersey is one of them. However the website hybridlaw.com lists New Jersey as having no restrictions on cat hybrids, but don't take that for gospel. There's apparently controversy and confusion on the matter. They are very rare, hard to breed, and can cost up to...wait for it...$20,000!
The Savannah cat can leap 8 feet and grow to 30 pounds. They can scale any type of fence and are best suited for the outdoors. They can run up to 40 mph.
This is hardly the first time someone's exotic pet has made news. You may remember the "Tiger Lady" from Jackson in the 1990's. I'll never forget taking phone calls from people who had just hung a U-turn on a road where they came within 20 feet of one of her tigers that got loose.
Last May a two foot long alligator was pulled from a Jackson campground lake. It was suspected that an area resident had kept it as a pet, then tossed it when they realized it was getting too big. They can grow up to 11 feet long.
Who can forget the back and forth court battle between a Lacey Township woman and the township over whether she could keep her beloved bobcat, Rocky. The bobcat kept getting loose no matter what kind of enclosure she tried to build.
I remember a few years back we had a talent showcase in studio featuring people's exotic pets. The hour included a giant tortoise and a pot-bellied pig named Piggy Smalls. Whatever drives people to love these offbeat animals, as long as they have the knowledge to care for them and keep people safe from them then hey, why not? I never in a million years would have thought I'd have any kind of lizard as a pet. But when I met my wife I found out she had a bearded dragon. To this day she lives with us and she's actually one of the easiest to care for pets ever.