CANAL WINCHESTER, Ohio — The father of former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott faces 21 charges in connection to a serval, a wild cat native to Africa, that was found loose in Canal Winchester, located outside Columbus, in October, according to a news release from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Stacy Elliott, also known as Stacy El-Muhammad, was identified by The Columbus Dispatch as Elliott's father. El-Muhammad faces 21 charges, including eight first-degree misdemeanor charges, filed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Fairfield Area Humane Society and Fairfield County Dog Warden.
The charges he faces stem from an Oct. 13 incident when neighbors reported the serval attacked a family dog. A deputy from the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office shot and killed the serval.
A serval is a wild cat native to Africa, typically rare in North Africa and the Sahel, but widespread in sub-Saharan countries.
Executing a search warrant at the property, investigators spoke with El-Muhammad, who claimed he was keeping the serval, but wasn’t the owner. Authorities used the serval’s microchip to determine it had been sold by El-Muhammad, who did not hold the required permit to own a serval in Ohio.
ODA filed nine charges against El-Muhammad:
• Failure to notify of dangerous wild animal (DWA) escape
• Obstruction of official business
• Allowing DWA to escape
• Failure to notify law enforcement of DWA escape
• Failure to have DWA signage at property entrance
• Possession of a DWA
• Failure to obtain DWA permit
• Failure to have DWA signage on cage
The other agencies involved filed 12 more charges. A first-degree misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.