The owners of a serval cat are fighting to keep the animal after receiving a letter saying that it’s unlawful inside town limits.
The mayor met Wednesday morning with Tyra’s owners.
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Jon and Vivian Freed have a little more than two weeks to move Tyra out of the Morganton city limits or face the possibility of civil penalties.
"(We're) shocked,” Vivian Freed said. “We had no idea. We thought we were safe."
"She's like one of our kids,” Jon Freed said. “How do you give away one of your kids?"
The couple moved to Morganton this summer and made headlines when Tyra escaped from their new home.
She was declawed and did not pose a threat to people and returned days later, but the story got the attention of the city officials, which led to the letter this week.
"We're absolutely crushed,” Jon Freed said. “We love where we are. We wanted to live in the city. Servals are apparently fine with the city and the state, but there is a city ordinance."
The couple has started an online petition that has close to 100 signatures.
Mayor Mel Cohen also threw his support behind Tyra on Wednesday after feeding her cheese and shrimp.
"They've done everything they can (that's) possible make this cat tame,” Cohen said. “And it looks tame and it ate out of my hand two or three times, so I'm going to help them any way we can."
The issue could go in front of city council as early as next week. The couple might bring Tyra to the meeting to show city leaders why they think she should stay.
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