Alabama African Serval Escape: One Year Later

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s officially been a year since a pair of African servals escaped from an exotic pet store in Huntsville.

At the time, Huntsville police said to just be aware of your surroundings while the creatures were still on the loose. However, the cat’s escape led to a microscope being placed on the store itself, 256 Exotics – and a response from Tiger King’s Carole Baskin.

While the servals were still on the loose, Baskin said Alabama’s exotic pet laws needed to change.

“It’s not that these animals belong in cages,” Baskin told News 19 last year. “And since these cats were born in the United States, they cannot be released into Africa. So they are stuck in a cage for the rest of their lives. But at least if they go to a legitimate sanctuary, you’re not making the problem worse, because they’re in those breeding facilities.

The two servals were reportedly recaptured about a week after their initial breakout, but that didn’t stop the issues surrounding 256 Exotics.

In April, a mother visiting the store with her daughter reported that the child was allegedly attacked by a serval inside a cage at 256 Exotics.

The mother, identified as Shelby Rood, said the animal grabbed her 3-year-old daughter, Ezlyn, with one paw on her head and another on her back. The cat continued its attack until Rood picked up his daughter and led her into the bathroom.

News 19 contacted Baskin again, who said a complaint had been filed against 256 Exotics with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), but “it usually takes many years of complaints and injuries to the USDA to take action.”

The 256 Exotics website still displays animals listed for purchase. However, no servals are listed.


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