ROYAL OAK, Mich. – New York man was sentenced to jail for trafficking exotic African cats – some of which were of the same breed as those who escaped from a house in Royal Oak last week, the authorities said.
Cats escape to Royal Oak
A Royal Oak woman received five tickets after four African caracal cats escaped his home, and police said it was not the first time that the cats went out. Even after “Bam Bam” – the last of the cats to be recovered – come home, questions persisted about the possession of these African cats by the woman.
Police said that due to the woman’s “inability to keep the animals confined to her property,” the department encouraged her to move them to a more appropriate environment. The woman agreed and contracted a transport company to move them, authorities said.
A condemned New Yorker
On Tuesday October 19, Christopher Casacci, 39, of Amherst, New York, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for violating the Lacey Act and the Animal Welfare Act by trafficking African feral cats, the US department said. of Justice.
“The purpose of the Lacey Act and the Animal Welfare Act is to protect fish, wildlife and other animals, especially those which may be endangered, from individuals who seek to profit from trafficking,” said said U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross. “The application of these measures is important to ensure that animals, such as exotic African cats in this case, are protected. “
Officials said Casacci advertised, imported and sold exotic African cats through “ExoticCubs.com” between February 2018 and June 2018.
Casacci is accused of importing and selling dozens of caracals and servals for between $ 7,500 and $ 10,000 each, according to authorities.
He claimed he was operating as a big cat rescue organization to avoid sanctions, officials said.
Casacci is also accused of forging transport documents to hide the cats’ true species, calling them Bengal or Savannah cats instead of identifying the true species, federal authorities said.
He was not allowed to sell the cats under the Animal Welfare Act, officials said.
“Selling wild animals as pets not only breaks the law, but also endangers local communities and environments,” said Deputy Attorney General Todd Kim, of the ministry’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. of Justice.
Learn more about the case
Also known as the “desert lynx,” the caracals weigh around 45 pounds, officials said. Casacci is accused of marketing them as “pets”.
Caracals and servals are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and their commercial possession and sale is restricted under New York law, according to federal authorities.
Authorities said several kittens imported by Casacci died while in his care or within days of selling them, and many more were seized from him during the investigation.
Cats seized during the investigation are permanently staying in approved animal sanctuaries, officials said.
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