HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — It’s officially been one year since a pair of African servals escaped from an exotic pet store in Huntsville.
At that time, Huntsville Police said to simply be aware of your surroundings while the creatures were still loose. However, the cat escape led to a microscope being placed on the store itself, 256 Exotics – and a response from Tiger King’s Carole Baskin.
While the servals were still at-large, Baskin said Alabama’s laws on exotic pets need to change.
“It’s not that these animals belong in cages,” Baskin told News 19 last year. “And since these cats were born in the US they can’t be released to Africa. So they’re stuck in a cage for the rest of their lives. But at least if they go to a legitimate sanctuary you’re not adding to the problem, as they are in these breeding facilities.”
Both servals were reported to be recaptured about a week after their initial escape, but that didn’t stop the issues surrounding 256 Exotics.
In April, a mother visiting the store with her daughter reported that the child had allegedly been attacked by a serval inside a cage at 256 Exotics.
The mother, identified as Shelby Rood, said the animal grabbed her 3-year-old daughter Ezlyn with one paw on her head and another in the back. The cat continued its attack until Rood picked up her daughter and took her to the bathroom.
News 19 reached out to Baskin again, who said a complaint had been filed against 256 Exotics with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), but “it usually takes many years of complaints and injuries for USDA to take any action.”
The website for 256 Exotics still shows animals listed for purchase. However, no servals are listed.
News 19 reached out to 256 Exotics for comment before this article was published, but did not hear back.