Loretta Sanchez Cites Los Alamitos Serval Cats Incident in Push for Wildlife Ownership Ban

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In light of three serval cats, who resemble small cheetahs, escaping from a Los Alamitos apartment recently, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) today renewed her call for a federal law prohibiting private possession of big cats except at facilities like accredited zoos. "This incident in Orange County is alarming and underscores the need for better regulation of private ownership of big cats," Sanchez says in a statement from her office.

After bobcat spottings were reported around the 4100 block of Farquhar Avenue in Los Alamitos Saturday night, a game warden and officers from Long Beach Animal Care Services, which serves Los Alamitos, captured a serval cat.

It was wearing a collar with the owner's name and address, and when officers went to the apartment in the 4400 block of Howard Avenue, they were told two other serval cats were missing. One was found nearby and the other returned to the apartment on its own.

The cats were taken to an animal sanctuary, while their previous owner was issued a citation from the state Department of Fish and Game for owning the animals. Officials also recommended the district attorney file three misdemeanor counts of possession of a restricted animal against the ex-cat owner, who would face a fine with a conviction.

Incidents involving illegally kept wild animals are popping up all over the country. Sanchez's office pointed to 49 animals being slaughtered--including 18 Bengal tigers, 17 lions, six black bears, a pair of grizzlies, three mountain lions, two wolves and a baboon--after the owner of an unlicensed wildlife preserve in Zanesville, Ohio. let them loose in October 2011 before killing himself.

Sanchez and Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) this year introduced H.R. 4122, the "Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act," which aims to curtail "an alarming number of wild cats [that] are being bred, sold, and even kept as domestic pets in the U.S.," and thereby threatening public safety. Fortunately, no one was harmed in Los Alamitos.

"Big cats are not pets," Sanchez observed. "They require high-quality facilities and proper care. Orange County's first responders and community members were put in unnecessary danger as they responded to this call."

Sanchez says she is seeking bipartisan support for her legislation in the upcoming congressional session. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

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11 comments
909Jeff
909Jeff

I was just saying how I needed an assault weapon with a 30 round magazine to defend myself from ferrel servals roaming the streets..... Now it looks like the good congresswoman who doesn't want "the man" telling her what she can do is about to tell us what to do... Go figure!

briansays
briansays

its my understanding servals can interbreed with domestic/feral cats

seven6ty
seven6ty

This is ridiculous.  Servals aren't "big cats" by any measure.  They're *slightly* bigger than house cats, but just by , maybe 2"s or so???  They're no more dangerous than a house or feral cat, and actually probably safer than feral house cats.  I've never even heard of a publicized injury from one of these cats.  There are certainly infinitely more safe than boxers, dobbermans and a wide variety of other dogs.

kellyallen
kellyallen

Dear Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez

First of all these are not BIG cats. They may look like cheetahs but they are much much smaller. They average around 20lbs and most have been breed in captivity for 20 to 50 years. Maybe do some research about this cat before you pass a bill that will kill hundreds of pets in the USA. Visit http://www.domesticatedservals.com to find out more about these cats. They are less dangerous then the poodle down the street. No one was hurt or has been ever hurt by these cats. Educate yourselves. 

brandonf76
brandonf76

I'm sad I missed sighting one or all of these critters!

julie52786
julie52786

@briansays

This is not called interbreeding, it is a hybrid. A serval hybrid is called a savannah cat. As a owner of two f3 Savannahs who has meet and interated with owners of servals this is shocking to hear about this.

There is so many more dog attacks and injuries yearly then have happened with servals. They are not a large cat, they are not "wild and dangerious".

909Jeff
909Jeff

@kellyallen @909Jeff hi Kelly... I joke... If you want a serval you should have one. My indignation is at the congresswomen for once again deciding what is good for us.

kellyallen
kellyallen

@909Jeff Hi Jeff I don't even live in the US and yes I do own a Serval. In Canada they do more research into these things. The Congresswomen is just using this issue to put fear in people. These cats did no harm to anyone one even heading home on its own. Now they have been taken from the owners. I am glad I don't live in the US. You are being more controlled by uneducated politicians and government officials. I guess your write all you can do is make a joke about it because it is getting crazy. 

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