Sunday 11 July 2021

Escaped pet serval in Atlanta is found and confiscated

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, USA-NEWS AND COMMENT: Recently there was a story about a serval escaping from their owner's home where they were a pet. The cat ended up on a neighbour's bed where the property owner, a woman, was sleeping. She woke up to find this large but domesticated wild cat next to her and she was terrified! As you would be. Well, the upshot is that the cat was captured and the owner wants his or her cat returned but they won't get her because it's illegal to keep exotic animals such as a serval as pets in Georgia.

Nala an escaped pet serval who has been confiscated as they are illegal in Georgia
Nala an escaped pet serval who has been confiscated as they are illegal in Georgia

The serval has been taken to a holding facility and from there it will be relocated to a wildlife sanctuary eventually. The scary event described in the first paragraph happened on June 30. I've just found out who the owner is. She is Anna Fyfe. She said that she moved to Georgia from South Carolina where it is perfectly legal to own a pet serval. The serval's name is Nala. She's thankful that the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) captured her cat which has helped to make people feel safe.

She said that Nala is harmless (I'd dispute that). Although she understands why they are taking her cat away to a sanctuary she said that: "I'm just devastated because Nala is my baby."

We are told that the cat was captured by a neighbour last Monday who returned Nala to Fyfe at which time she was told by the authorities that she would have to give the cat up. No charges have been filed. She says that she thinks DNR should return the cat to her to allow her to take her back to South Carolina, immediately. That, she says, is a better outcome than Nala spending the rest of our life in a new environment.

Comment: the story reinforces the advice that owners of exotic animals should check the law wherever they are, in whatever country before they import an animal to that country. In developed countries it is normal for restrictions to be in place regarding the ownership of exotic animals.

As usual, it is the animal who suffers the most because this serval is now going to spend their life in a strange sanctuary which will take some adjusting. Remember that all cats have a home range and this cat has been moved from pillar to post. From her South Carolina home to a Georgia home and now to a sanctuary with quite a lot of stress in between. This is not good cat ownership. All because Anna Fyfe either didn't check the law or ignored it. I suspect it's the latter. So, she's saying it's unfair that Nala now has to spend the rest of her life in a sanctuary but it's her fault. She does not have the right to say it's unfair.

There should be a complete ban on the ownership of servals as pets anywhere. In America they are quite popular although relatively rare as pets. They often escape because they are confined to a home which is highly unsuitable as a like to have about 10 km² when living in the wild. You can imagine how trapped and confined they feel which motivates them to escape as Nala did.

If you click the link below, you'll be taken to a lot of articles about the serval which may interest you.


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