Wild Cat Found in Cincinnati With Cocaine in Its System

Luke Allen, Editor

An illegally owned African Serval named Amiry was captured after escaping their owner’s vehicle during a police stop in January although the information has only been made public recently due to legal reasons. After the animal’s escape a department of Cincinnati Animal Care responded to a call about what was believed to be a leopard spotted in a tree. Amiry was successfully captured and brought to a local animal shelter where he was cared for by a medical team and was identified as a Serval by an expert whose credentials include working on the Tiger King case. 


After Amiry was determined to be an African Serval he was tested for narcotics and tested positive for cocaine in his system. This policy of a standardized narcotics test for exotic animals was adopted at the shelter after a Capuchin monkey was seized from its owner after videos of the monkey ingesting illicit substances surfaced. The money tested positive for amphetamines and underwent treatment. Since then these tests have become standard protocols for any “exotic” animals that enter the shelter. Ray Anderson, one of the Cincinnati Animal Care shelter workers who was with the team working on Amiry, stated the following about the situation, “ Of course, we also test for narcotics on any dog or cat displaying behaviors that would lead us down that path,” he added. “Amiry was extremely agitated at the time he was with us, which is understandable given what he had been through that morning, but we were able to sedate and treat before transporting to the [Cincinnati] Zoo.” Amiry was transferred to the Cincinnati Zoo as the shelter lacks the facilities needed to properly care for the animal during his recovery. Zoo officials report that Amiry’s health has improved and is recovering well from a broken leg that was sustained during his dramatic rescue. He has since been moved to the Cat Ambassador Program of the zoo which aims to educate visitors about wildcats and raise money for their conservation.


Anderson did not reveal the specifics behind the toxicology report, but did say that authorities are currently looking for evidence of how the cocaine entered Amiry’s system adding that, “Given the nature of his capture, we cannot currently say if this [was] intentional or environmental.” Amiry’s owner willingly signed him over to animal authorities which is why as of now they are not pressing charges. Cincinnati Animal Care stated the following in a Facebook post about the case, “His owner was cooperative and paid for Amiry’s care until all ownership transfers were finalized, which is when this story went public.” Although there are no charges being pressed against the owner yet the case surrounding Amiry remains open pending additional evidence and the results of an ongoing investigation that is being conducted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.


Recently there have been a number of escaped exotic pets within the United States such as the small herd of Zebras that escaped from their owners property in Maryland last year and a pair of tamarin monkeys that were stolen from the Dallas Zoo in January. Although these kinds of animal escapes are rare Anderson advises caution when encountering agitated or exotic animals advising the following for anyone who ends up in this situation, “Do not approach, do not wait to get pictures or videos, stay safe as it could not only be a life or death situation for yourself, but the animal as well,” he added. “Let professionals handle the situation and get the animal to safety if possible.”