British Columbia

13 servals found living in 'horrific conditions' seized from B.C. breeder

A statement said most of the African cats were being kept in RV trailers on the Little Fort property and were exposed to high levels of ammonia from urine, with litter boxes overflowing with feces.

Cats were kept in trailers without natural light, proper ventilation, access to water

One of 13 servals seized from a breeder in Little Fort, B.C. Thirteen of the exotic cats were found in 'horrific' living conditions, according to the B.C. SPCA. (BC SPCA)

More than a dozen exotic cats found in "horrific conditions'' have been seized from a breeder near Kamloops, B.C.

The B.C. SPCA said 10 adult servals and three kittens were taken from a breeder in Little Fort after it received complaints of sick and injured animals being sold.

A statement said most of the African cats were being kept in RV trailers on the property and were exposed to high levels of ammonia from urine, with litter boxes overflowing with feces.

The SPCA said there was no proper ventilation or access to water, despite high temperatures, and no natural light because the windows were covered.

Servals are medium-sized wild cats from Africa. Thirteen of the animals were removed from the Little Fort, B.C., breeder with the help of a conservation officer and are being cared for at an undisclosed location. (BC SPCA)

The animals were removed with the help of a conservation officer and are being cared for at an undisclosed location.

Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer, said servals require extensive space to run and a highly enriched environment to express natural play and hunting behaviours.

"They are carnivores and require a very specialized diet to meet their physical needs, including proper bone development,'' a statement read.

"The idea of these beautiful wild animals being confined in captivity is disturbing enough, but in this case, the animals were kept indoors in substandard conditions without access to the outdoors or exercise.''

Moriarty said the case fits with a trend of substandard breeders who have very attractive websites so buyers are unaware of how distressing the actual living conditions are for the animals.

All interactions are online and buyers never visit the property, she said.

3 other animals seized

In addition to the 13 exotic cats, the SPCA also seized two dogs and one domestic cat in distress from the same property.

Serval cats are not included in the provincial controlled alien species legislation, which means their breeding is not regulated.

The investigation is ongoing but the SPCA says it will recommend charges of animal cruelty in the case.

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