Exotic cheetah-like cat seized in cruelty case
By MICHAEL RISINIT
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: November 1, 2007)
MAHOPAC – An emaciated exotic cat seized from a squalid home apparently had free rein of his surroundings and no one to care for him.
"What we’re finding now is in its feces, there’s a lot of Styrofoam," said Ken Ross, chief of the SPCA of Westchester’s Humane Law Enforcement division. "It was eating whatever it could. It was extremely hungry."
Ross said yesterday that the pet serval, an African spotted cat, probably was foraging among the boxes, papers and other trash littering the inside of
Louis Pinto, 54, who is on parole after a drug conviction, was charged with animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, in the serval case. The charge carries a penalty of up to a year in jail, a fine or both.
Pinto wasn’t home Sunday when
"It didn’t look real healthy," Ross said, explaining why the dog walker called police.
She couldn’t say whether Pinto possessed a permit.
Ross said Pinto was found Sunday in front of a store in Mahopac. He is due in
Serval cats look like small cheetahs. The wildcats are native to central and southern
Ross said he didn’t know whether this cat was the same one Pinto reported missing in 2001. It was found hunting
Pinto signed the cat seized on Sunday over to the SPCA, which is trying to place the animal in a zoo or animal sanctuary.
The serval wasn’t the first large feline to lead Pinto to legal trouble. In 1998, DEC officers removed Dax, a 5-month-old domesticated bobcat, from his home after obtaining a court order.
In 2002, Pinto, his wife, Janet, and their neighbors were charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana after authorities seized marijuana with a street value estimated at $1 million from their homes.
Pinto, according to the state Department of Correctional Services records, served almost two years in prison in that case before he was released on parole in July 2005.
Reach Michael Risinit at email@example.com or 845-228-2274.