Wild cat seized

Published Thursday, 11 April 2019

A serval cat has been seized from an address in Biggin Hill.

The unlicensed wild animal was seized under section 4 (1) of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. Under the act, certain animals and reptiles listed require the owner to have a licence to keep them. Strict rules apply for the construction of the animal's accommodation which must be inspected by a veterinary officer, and anyone keeping a listed animal without the £636 licence risks prosecution and confiscation of the animal.  

“Licensing exists to protect individuals and animals. If an owner meets the criteria we will license prior to them obtaining the wild animal. Keeping an exotic animal is not the same as a domestic pet - they have special diets and needs with natural instincts that must be met, for example. Many wild animals, like the serval cat, are seen by some as a status symbol, too. Of course there are many legitimate ways of obtaining an animal and anyone considering getting a pet, whether a cat or another animal, might want to go to a rescue centre or animal shelter” said Councillor Kate Lymer, Executive Councillor for Public Protection and Enforcement.

The wild serval cat thought to have been illegally bred or imported, was seized by police working in partnership with Bromley Council. The council’s contractor, the City of London Veterinary Team, confirmed it was listed as a dangerous, wild animal. The serval cat was confiscated under section 4 (1) of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 with the council then seeking to dispose of the animal by rehoming at a zoo.

Anyone keeping animals considered to be wild, dangerous or exotic needs to apply for a licence, as the council must ensure they meet the conditions of the licence and that the animal’s welfare is protected. Animals may include wild cats, primates, wild dogs, certain pigs and marsupials but the full list and further advice can be found via the council’s website www.bromley.gov.uk/licences

The serval cat, native to Africa, is slender and stands about 24 inches at the shoulder and weighs up to 40 lb. It has a small head, large ears, a golden-yellow spotted and striped coat with a short, black-tipped tail and long legs. Servals tend to be active in the day as well as at night and are usually solitary animals with minimal social interaction. Their instinct is to mark their territory and they use their acute hearing to prey on rodents, small birds, frogs, insects, and reptiles.

Anyone wishing to find out more about licensing is advised to search www.bromley.gov.uk/licences

ends

Notes to editors: The serval cat was seized on Friday 29 March 2019.

For media enquiries, please contact Andrew Rogers, Communications Executive, on 020 8461 7670 or email andrew.rogers@bromley.gov.uk