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Amherst man charged for trafficking exotic African cats

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– On Thursday, 38-year-old Christopher Casacci of Amherst has been indicted on charges of violating the Lacey Act and U.S. Animal Welfare Act based on his alleged trafficking of African wild cats in interstate commerce.

According to U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Casacci, doing business as ExoticCubs.com, imported and sold dozens of desert lynx and servals between February and June in 2018.

Both species are protected, and commercial possession and sale of them are restricted under New York state law, officials say.

Casacci is additionally charged with disguising his commercial activity by falsely declaring the animals as domesticated breeds, such as savannah cats and bengal cats, on shipping records.

Allegedly, he also failed to comply with humane care standards under the Animal Welfare Act and failed to secure the necessary license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Casacci was charged with violating the welfare act for selling the animals without a license showing minimum compliance with humane treatment standards.

He was arraigned Thursday morning and released on conditions.

Casacci is due back in court for a status hearing on January 23, at 1 p.m.

The charges carry a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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