This film is part of Free

Butcher's guardpuma

Solomon the guard puma - put your paws up!

News 1976 3 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


This film reveals the lengths a local butcher has gone to discourage theft at his shop ‘John May Meats’ in Ilfracombe. After falling victim to eight burglaries in 20 months, John May explains to Westward TV reporter Stephen Matthews why the six-month puma Solomon is such a cool cat to have in his shop to guard the produce. The exotic pet trade exploded in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Exotic species which are not native to Britain and which require a high level of specialist care led to some being released or given up quickly once the novelty had worn off. Sightings of wild cats in particular continue although no concrete proof has ever been found that they exist in the British countryside. The Dangerous Wild Animal Act of 1976 put an end to the practice and regulated the ownership of wild animals in the UK. The exotic pet trade continues.