Serval dies after escaping suburban pen, chasing dog-walker: 'This is an unfortunate incident'

Serval cat on the loose in Vernon Hills. Photo credit Vernon Hills police

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) – A serval was fatally injured after escaping its north suburban enclosure and pursuing a woman walking her dog in Vernon Hills, police said.

Officers on Saturday evening were called to the Grosse Pointe subdivision for a report of a bobcat on the loose. A 9-1-1 caller said the animal “had chased and cornered a neighbor who had been walking her dog nearby,” officials said in a news release.

Using a surveillance image, authorities determined the loose animal was a serval, a small wild cat species native to Africa. Officers then encountered the cat’s owners, who were looking for the missing pet.

Police say the animal was captured but fatal sustained injuries while being transferred from a vehicle to its pen. The serval had been loose for three hours, officials estimated.

“This is an unfortunate incident, and we extend our condolences to the animal’s owners for their loss,” Vernon Hills Police Chief Patrick L.
Kreis said. “The keeping of exotic pets in suburban environments, though, is not without risk. We are fortunate that no nearby residents or pets were injured by this naturally predatory animal.”

Possession of servals is not illegal in Illinois, but their sale is prohibited, police said.

The Vernon Hills incident comes after the recent escape of a serval in central Illinois. That animal was recovered.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Vernon Hills police