LANCASTER, OH (WCMH) — Stacy Elliott was in a Fairfield County courtroom Wednesday, where he entered a not guilty plea on charges stemming from the death of serval cat last fall.
Elliott, named in court documents as Stacy El-Muhammad and the father of former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, is charged with 21 different violations.
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 Stacy 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 missed Tuesday’s arraignment because he did not receive the summons.
Elliott was released under his own recognizance under the conditions he does not acquire or possess any more animals, notify his bond officer of any out-of-state travel, and permit the Fairfield Area Humane Society to perform periodic well-being checks on the animals still in his possession.
His attorney says Elliott no longer owns any exotic animals.