The Columbus Dispatch has reported that the father of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is facing 21 charges after he allegedly released a wild African cat he had been keeping as a pet.
The serval cat, pictured at left, attacked a neighbor’s dog and was later fatally shot by police.
The incident took place October 13 after Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call that a bobcat was attacking a neighbor’s dog. When the deputies arrived on the scene, they found the dog being attacked by the serval. They shot and killed the cat, saving the life of the dog.
When investigators from the department of agriculture questioned El-Muhammad about the cat, he denied owning it, the Dispatch reports. It is illegal to own a serval in Ohio without a permit.
Charges were filed against El-Muhammad yesterday by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Fairfield Area Humane Society and the Fairfield County dog warden after investigators traced a microchip removed from the dead animal back to El-Muhammad. The charges include a fifth-degree felony for intentionally allowing an exotic animal to escape.