CANAL WINCHESTER, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio Department of Agriculture investigators are executing a search warrant at the home of Stacy Elliott, the father of former OSU running back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Fairfield County property is adjacent to the neighborhood where a serval cat was shot by a deputy Sunday.
The incident occurred in the Jefferson Farms subdivision southeast of Canal Winchester. The animal was identified by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as a serval, a species of wild cat native to Africa.
Jim Zuber says he and a neighbor first saw the serval Saturday.
“It just creeped along between my bushes and the house here and it literally came up to the front door,” Zuber said. “So we cautiously stayed out in the front yard as it went around the side of the house.”
Zuber said the serval had a collar on but clearly exhibited wild instincts.
“It was kind of creeping towards us and as we took a step backward, it would take steps toward us and when we made noise to shush it away, it hunched back in a position to leap forward,” he said.
The serval resurfaced in this neighborhood Sunday when it allegedly attacked a dog. Deputies responded and shot the cat when it appeared in an “attack stance.”
A spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Agriculture has told NBC4 no one in Fairfield County has a state permit for a serval.
Under state law, it’s a first-degree misdemeanor to not have a permit and a fifth-degree felony for allowing an exotic animal to escape.