Exotic cat in Cincinnati tests positive for cocaine https://t.co/4SRXU6bT86
— NewsNation (@NewsNation) March 9, 2023
The way we live now... Per NPR:
… Unlike the movie, this story isn’t set in the 1980s — it happened earlier this year. It was only made public recently for legal reasons, explains Ray Anderson with the Cincinnati Animal Care shelter.
“Coming on the heels of the Cocaine Bear movie, we’re not surprised it has gone viral,” he told NPR via email.
The protagonist of this particular tale is a serval named Amiry.
The big cat was kept as a pet and escaped from his owner’s car during a police stop in January, according to Anderson.
That’s when Hamilton County Dog Wardens (a division of Cincinnati Animal Care) got calls about what was thought to be a leopard spotted up in a tree.
Responders were able to retrieve Amiry and bring him back to the shelter, where the medical team called in an expert (whose credentials include working on the “Tiger King” case and the Zanesville tragedy) to identify his species.
The expert suspected Amiry was actually a serval, a long-legged, big-eared wild cat that is native to sub-Saharan Africa and illegal to own in Ohio. To confirm that, the medical team took a DNA sample — and also tested him for narcotics.
Why did the shelter test Amiry for drugs in the first place? The short answer is a capuchin monkey named Neo.
Last year, local animal control seized the monkey from his Cincinnati home after a veterinarian who saw videos of him believed he had ingested Xanax and/or cocaine and was in need of medical care.
Neo tested positive for amphetamines, underwent treatment and is now “safely in an undisclosed location,” according to Anderson. His owner was indicted on animal cruelty charges.
Since then, Anderson says it’s become standard protocol for the shelter to test for narcotics for any animal that is more “exotic” than the usual household pet.
“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 is doing “very well” there, and Anderson said the zoo is hoping he can become a member of its Cat Ambassador Program, which aims to educate visitors about the importance of wild cat predators and raise money for cheetah conservation efforts…
Amiry’s owner willingly signed Amiry over to animal authorities and has cooperated with their investigation, Anderson said, which is why they are not pursuing charges at the time.
“His owner was cooperative and paid for Amiry’s care until all ownership transfers were finalized, which is when this story went public,” Cincinnati Animal Care noted in a Facebook post on Thursday…
Poor Amiry. Some of the testing was to confirm that Amiry is not a Savannah cat, a modern domestic hybrid which is legal in some states, including Ohio. Servals have occasionally been kept as ‘pets’ since the days of the Pharaohs, but while they’re certainly appealing, I personally wouldn’t consider it a good idea!