SANDSTONE, MN — Rescue officials say a mother African serval and her three kittens are now safe after they were seized from an extreme cruelty case in Canada.
According to officials with the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, the sanctuary will be the final home to four of the 13 cats involved in the case.
The British Columbia SPCA helped seize the animals from a Canadian breeder, and many of the servals were living in RVs on the breeder’s property, lacking veterinary care, proper diets, and access to clean water.
In addition, officials say the cats didn’t have sunlight since the windows had been covered, and when inspectors arrived, they had difficulty breathing due to the smell of ammonia from feces and urine in the RVs.
The family of servals, whose journey started days ago as they were driven across the border from British Columbia to Seattle, were driven to the sanctuary after arriving in Minneapolis. They will have their intake exams on Thursday.
Officials add the case is extremely special due to the rarity of serval kittens from a breeder having the chance to stay with their mothers.
Servals are often taken from their mothers at a young age and sold between $7,000 -$10,000 each.
The wildcat family is made up of the mother, named Ava, and her two sons, Chili and Jalapeno (nicknamed Hal), as well as her daughter, Bell.
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Wildlife Sanctuary officials say the cats will be released into a free-roaming habitat and will live out their lives at the sanctuary.
Below: The mother of the three kittens shown above, Ava.