Middletown woman arraigned on exotic pet charges - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Middletown woman arraigned on exotic pet charges

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Noah's the serval. (Beth Rhines photo) Noah's the serval. (Beth Rhines photo)

A woman fighting to keep an African wild cat she adopted appeared in court on Thursday on illegal exotic pet charges.

Beth Rhines said the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection seized the serval cat, named Noah's, on May 5 after a search warrant was executed.

"It's heartbreaking. I'm completely broke over it. I cry almost every night," Rhines said.

DEEP said it's illegal to own a serval in Connecticut. It compared the animal to bobcats and cheetahs. It said despite being born in captivity, its natural instincts could lead to serious injury.

"It's been really, really hard. I'm trying, got do everything I can to show people that he's not a dangerous animal and he deserves to come home and he's not being treated right," she said.

Rhines claimed Noah's was not dangerous.

She launched an online petition to get the cat back from DEEP. Right now Noah's is in state custody, allegedly at the Beardsley Zoo.

The petition claimed that servals bond to one family or person for life, so transitioning him now would harm his well being.

As of Thursday, it garnered nearly 3,000 signatures.

She said she is looking to relocate to be with Noah's, so she is looking at laws in other states.

"We miss him. It's completely unfair that they have him locked up and he didn't do anything wrong," she said.

Rhines was charged with illegal possession of a dangerous animal. She's due back in court next Thursday.

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