Could a Missing Serval Become a Charleston Personal Injury Case?Mark Clore ·
According to the Post and Courier, a Serval hit the streets of James Island near the end of February. Several media outlets were quick to pick up the story, though none of them have indicated that the African wildcat has been captured as of yet. All too often, exotic animals attack, causing serious personal injury. With the missing serval still on the loose, the chances of an incident happening are too high for some residents to feel comfortable. Why is there a Serval Roaming? South Carolina's exotic pet laws are some of the most lax in the country, according to WCSC news. Although there are laws that list which animals are legal, as well as which ones people must have a permit to own, there's nothing at all mentioned about the Felidae cat family. This group includes all sorts of cats, including domestic cats, cheetahs, cougars, ocelots, leopards, and, of course, servals. Charleston also has its own legislation, but it doesn't mention Felidae either. So, it's perfectly legal for a person to keep a serval as a pet, and the missing wild cat is domesticated. His owner took him for a walk on a trail near Bassett Court, where he was spooked by a dog when slipped out of his harness, and fled. Are People in Danger? According to news reports, the serval, whose name is Cheeto, was born in captivity, and was bred to be domesticated. His front paws have been declawed, and his owner says he's not aggressive. The problem is that servals are predators. Although they normally hunt only small animals, if hungry enough, he could target a young child. In addition, he's also accustomed to being inside a home, and now he's out in the city. His survival instincts may kick in, or he may react to someone out of fear. His owner has posted a notice to her Facebook page that offers a cash reward for his safe return. Her main concern is that someone has, or will, take Cheeto home with them as a pet. Experts fear it's more likely a person will harm him, not knowing he's a pet. Per the owner's Facebook posts, Cheeto was last seen on March 8 near his home. How Often Do Exotic Pets Cause Personal Injury? According to Nat Geo, incidents of exotic animal attacks are not rare. Between 1990 and 2012, 75 people have been killed, and an additional 543 have been hurt.The animal most likely to be involved in these incidents are large cats. They account for 164 of the total injuries, and 21 deaths. In addition, 200 animals have been killed, plus another 55 have been injured.
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Even when these animals are kept legally, there are still risks involved, and owners are responsible for ensuring people are safe. If you've been hurt by someone's pet, and the attack was not provoked, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact our office online, or speak with an attorney now by calling1(800)610-2546.
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