The hashtag “Cocaine Shark” has now been replaced by “Cocaine Cat.” Both being sarcastic plays on the wildly popular new movie “Cocaine Bear.” The new horror comedy is based on a case in the 1980s of a black bear that ingested a duffle bag full of coke. In real life, the bear passed away, but in the movie, it goes on a killing spree. The hashtag hit last month when New Zealand police found 3.5 tons of cocaine floating in the Pacific Ocean. While no coked-up sharks were reported, the meme/film pitch would be based on a “what if” scenario.
The sad reality is “Cocaine Cat” is a real animal that was found in Ohio with cocaine in its system. While the case happened earlier this year it only recently broke due to legal reasons. “Coming on the heels of the Cocaine Bear movie, we’re not surprised it has gone viral,” Ray Anderson of the Cincinnati Animal Care shelter said in an email.
A serval named Amiry was being kept as a pet, but escaped from his owner’s car in January during a police stop. Soon after the Hamilton County Dog Wardens, a division of Cincinnati Animal Care, got calls about a “leopard” in a tree. Responders were able to safely grab the wild cat and bring him back to the shelter. They called in an expert to examine the animal and determine its species. Since staff already suspected he may be a serval and not a leopard.
The medical team took blood to test Amiry’s DNA as well as run a tox screen for drugs. A drug test on exotic animals has been standard practice at the shelter since last year when they took in Neo, a capuchin monkey. Neo was seized by animal control from a Cincinnati home after a veterinarian saw videos of him and believed he had ingested drugs. The monkey did test positive for amphetamines, underwent treatment, and is now safe in an undisclosed location. With the owner being indicted on animal cruelty charges. “Amiry tested positive for exposure to cocaine and the DNA test concluded he was indeed a serval,” Anderson confirmed.
“Amiry was extremely agitated at the time he was with us, which is understandable given what he had been through that morning, but we were able to sedate and treat before transporting,” Anderson added. Since the shelter is not equipped to house wildlife, Amiry was sent to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.
Anderson also declined to give any more specifics on the toxicology report. Authorities are still looking into the specifics of how the drugs got into Amiry system. “Given the nature of his capture, we cannot currently say if this intentional or environmental,” he explained.
Amiry’s owner willingly signed him over to authorities and cooperated with their investigation. “His owner was cooperative and paid for Amiry’s care until all ownership transfers were finalized, which is when this story went public,” said Cincinnati Animal Care in a Facebook post.
Amiry is currently doing well and the zoo thinks he could be a member of its Cat Ambassador Program. Which educates visitors about the importance of wild cat predators,while raising money for cheetah conservation efforts. Which is great news considering servals are illegal to own in the state of Ohio. Making them significantly harder to place.
We hope Amiry continues to flourish in his new home. Currently, there are no planned “Cocaine Cat” movies. But that’s what we said about “Cocaine Shark” until Wild Eye entered the chat.
The Hamilton County Dog Wardens are asking anyone with information to call them at 513-541-7387.