Mequon — Thinking of raising a baboon? Or maybe an ostrich? Well, think again.
Those animals, alongside a list of other wild critters, were banned Tuesday by the Common Council, which delivered a unanimous vote to institute a stepped-up exotic pet ordinance in light of a recent incident with a domesticated African wild cat.
In June and July, Mequon police responded to calls of a "cheetah" prowling in the area near Wauwatosa and Donges Bay roads. The animal was actually an escaped domesticated serval, a spotted African wild cat which can weigh between 25-40 pounds. The serval both puzzled and frightened neighbors for days before it was struck dead on a nearby road by a passing driver.
Servals are included in a lengthy list of wild animals banned by the new ordinance, which will go into effect this week when signed by Mayor Dan Abendroth.
However, if city residents already have a pet on the list, which includes snapping turtles, pot-bellied pigs and crocodiles, they have 90 days to register the animal. According to the ordinance, owners have to provide paperwork to prove they have complied with any state and federal regulations on ownership or importation, and must provide clean and secure housing for their pets.
"We don't want to create any homeless pets from people who legally have them here (already)," Alderman Andrew Nerbun said. "We didn't want to, if someone does have a pet like this, being forced to kick them to the curb."
The ordinance includes exemptions for animals under the care of veterinarians, agricultural fairs, 4-H shows or projects, animal shows, carnivals and circuses, public or private schools, pet shops and zoos.
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