BUFFALO, N.Y. — An Amherst man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for violating the Lacey Act and the Animal Welfare Act by trafficking African wild cats.
Christopher Casacci, 39, was doing business on ExoticCubs.com, where he advertised, imported and sold exotic African cats.
Between February and June of 2018 Casacci sold dozens of wild cats ranging between $7,500 and $10,000 each.
Casacci claimed that he was operating as a big cat rescue organization in an attempt to avoid New York prohibitions against possessing and selling wild animals. Casacci also falsified transport documents to hide the true species of the cats, instead of calling the animals domestic crossbreeds, such as Bengal cats or Savannah cats.
“Selling wild animals as pets not only breaks the law but also endangers local communities and environments,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The Department of Justice is dedicated to protecting the public and our native wildlife from the irresponsible actions of wildlife traffickers.”
When Casacci was arrested the cats were seized and placed with accredited animal sanctuaries.