DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — A Decatur man is asking for the public’s attention and patience while his wild animal is on the loose.
Christopher Solomon bought the big cat in September and two weeks later it got out. He said after a week or so of it missing, he thought it was dead, but hearing about his pet’s sightings throughout Decatur reignited his hope and concern.
“I reached out to his mother that night and just shared the updates with how things were going. And she said, that’s wonderful,” said Solomon, “I’m so glad that he’s in a good home. I know you’ll take good care of him.”
And just hours later he was gone. Solomon said when his African serval went missing, it was as if his dreams were crushed.
“It hurts a lot. I mean, I’ve probably cried five to six times every time I go out here,” said Solomon.
He said he saved for three months to buy the wild animal and he even prepared his apartment to house it, but he was only able to keep it for a fraction of that time.
“My front door was completely wide open. It was icy-cold in my apartment, and I heard some weird scuffling noises going from the bathroom,” said Solomon.
His friend had left his front door open. While the 30-pound animal may look like just a big cat, professionals like Scoville Zoo Director Ken Frye said it is anything but.
“I wouldn’t pet it or pick it up. They do have pretty nice half-inch teeth and claws. It’s like a housecat on steroids,” Frye said.
He added that people who may be in contact with it should keep that in mind. Solomon said authorities believe it’s near the Decatur Correctional Center.
“It’s going to stay away. It’s going to be observing from trees. It’s going to be nearly impossible to find,” said Frye
Solomon said he’s not sure what will happen once it’s caught, but he hopes it’s returned.
“If you find him, stay with him, keep eyes on him, and contact the police and/or animal control. He really is a beast of a cat,” said Solomon.