Four caracals in Michigan headed to a sanctuary after their fourth escape incident


Four caracals in Michigan are being moved to an out-of-state sanctuary. Photo from Facebook/Wild at Heart Exotics.

Four African caracals in Michigan are headed to a sanctuary after escaping for at least the fourth time in Royal Oak.


Detroit's Local 4 News reports that on Monday, Dec. 20, Royal Oak police were again called to find a caracal, a species of African wildcat, that escaped from its owner and was running loose.


The wildcat escaped from Elaine Westfall, a private owner who keeps four caracals in her home in a suburb of Detroit. This is at least the fourth time the wildcats escaped from Westfall’s home, according to police.


Four caracals owned by Elaine Westfall in Royal Oak, Michigan. Photo from Facebook/Wild at Heart Exotics.

In October, news reports indicate that police were called to Westfall’s home after “several large African caracal cats” had escaped. Two cats were found in an unsecured enclosure at the home, and a third cat was located and lured back to the home using raw meat. The fourth cat was loose for hours near an elementary school and was eventually captured in a live trap.


Westfall was issued five citations for the incident and she was ordered to remove the caracals from the city.


The Royal Oak Tribune reported that Westfall had moved the caracals to Indian Creek Zoo in Lambertville, MI, but her lawyer said that Westfall had a right to return with the cats because there were no ordinances in place that prohibit them.


In November, Royal Oak enacted a moratorium on caracals and other non-domestic animals.


Local 4 News reported that police were called to the same Royal Oak neighborhood yesterday for a report of an escaped caracal. The animal was recaptured and Westfall was cited with a misdemeanor violation for the incident, police said.


Local 4 News reported that Westfall agreed to surrender the cats and officials removed the caracals from Westfall’s home today. They will be placed at an out-of-state sanctuary.