Following up on the capture of the suspected serval in West Seattle (sighting first reported here Friday; capture reported here Saturday; photo at left shows a wild serval, haven’t seen one yet of the actual capturee): We just heard back from Don Jordan, director of the Seattle Animal Shelter, who gave WSB the full scoop on what happened, and what will happen next:
First of all – yes, the shelter says, it IS a serval, not a hybrid, but the real deal. And it is indeed the second one captured in West Seattle in less than a month – the last one was found “under someone’s porch” in the 4800 block of SW Findlay on December 30th.
Jordan says servals are illegal in the city of Seattle. Even if it had been a hybrid, those are illegal too, under the city code defining “exotic” animals. He says they don’t know where these animals came from — both were declawed, suggesting they were being kept as pets or for breeding. “These cats can cost upwards of 8 dollars a day to feed,” he noted, “maybe someone got it as a pet and realized it was just too expensive to take care of.”
He says the serval that two Animal Shelter officers captured on Madison Middle School property over the weekend is currently in an “isolation room” at the shelter until they can figure out who can take it. Jordan stresses that exotic animals like these are NOT put down — he wants to make sure no one ever hesitates to call about them for fear they might be killed — he says the serval found in West Seattle in December was placed with a “licensed sanctuary outside the city,” and he will be checking to see if that same sanctuary might be able to take this one. His shelter also handled a pair of servals found in northeast Seattle about three years ago, and he says the Woodland Park Zoo helped his agency place them with an out-of-state zoo. “Even though they are illegal in the city,” Jordan tells WSB, “we always intend for them to be placed somewhere they can be taken care of.”
The servals aren’t the only exotic cats that have turned up in West Seattle, by the way; Jordan recalls a bobcat found in the late ’90s.
Thanks again to the reader who provided the first report about the serval on Friday, and to TC for updating us on the capture on Saturday. And thanks to Don Jordan of the Seattle Animal Shelter for the info; he reminds you that if you have an animal concern to report, the hotline is 386-PETS. (That includes anyone suspected of having an illegal animal, which is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.)