LANCASTER, Ohio (WCMH) – The owner of an exotic cat that got loose in Fairfield County in October failed to show for court Tuesday morning.
Stacy Elliott, named in court documents as Stacy El-Muhammad, is charged with 21 different violations. They stem from an investigation last fall involving a serval, a species of wild cat native to Africa.
On October 13th, the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office responded to a Canal Winchester neighborhood for reports of an exotic cat attacking a family’s dog. The attack happened in the same area where the Ohio Department of Natural Resources received reports of possible serval sightings. When deputies found the cat, they shot and killed it when it appeared ready to pounce.
Social media and other tips led investigators to Elliott’s property, where he denied owning the serval. Court documents allege he gave officers false information for someone he claimed was the cat’s real owner. A previous owner identified through microchip data confirmed he sold the serval to Elliott, who failed to obtain proper permits and signage.
Several agencies filed additional charges after searching Elliott’s property, including other unregistered animals and alleged animal cruelty. At least eight of the 21 charges are first degree misdemeanors, which carry a penalty of up to 180 days in jail or a $1,000 fine.
Elliott’s attorney said his client did not receive the summons for the Tuesday arraignment. The court denied the defense’s request for a continuance. Prosecutors are giving Elliott until Friday, January 24th to make an appearance before they file a warrant for his arrest.
Elliott is the father of Dallas Cowboys running back and former star Buckeye Ezekiel Elliott.