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Wild cat found in Cincinnati neighborhood tested positive for cocaine

Amiry serval cocaine cat
Posted at 8:02 AM, Mar 09, 2023

CINCINNATI, Ohio — A big cat found loose in a Cincinnati neighborhood has tested positive for cocaine, officials said.

Ray Anderson, a spokesperson with Cincinnati Animal CARE, said the dog wardens were alerted to reports of a "leopard" spotted in a tree in Oakley on Jan. 28.

The dog wardens were able to retrieve the cat, named Amiry, from the tree and brought it to Cincinnati Animal CARE. Anderson said the medical team called in a big cat expert to determine what type of cat they were dealing with.

"Our initial thought was the cat was a hybrid F1 Savannah, which is legal to own in Ohio, but our expert was pretty certain Amiry was a serval, which are illegal," said Anderson.

A DNA test confirmed Amiry was, in fact, a serval.

A narcotics test also confirmed Amiry was positive for exposure to cocaine, officials said.

Amiry was taken to the Cincinnati Zoo for care. Michelle Curley, spokesperson for the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, said Amiry has been receiving veterinary care in the zoo's Animal Health Center since he arrived.

"He's doing well and the next step will be for our Cat Ambassador Program team to work with him and determine if he's a good fit to be an ambassador animal," said Curley.

Amiry will stay behind the scenes, so visitors shouldn't expect Cincinnati's "cocaine cat" to be incorporated into an exhibit any time soon.

Despite it being illegal to own a serval in Ohio, officials said Amiry's owner has cooperated with the investigation and the Hamilton County Dog Wardens are not pursuing charges, though the case remains open. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is investigating as well.

"We're extremely proud of the work done in this case by the dog wardens and medical staff and are immensely appreciative to the Cincinnati Zoo for getting Amiry the care he needs," said Anderson.

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