USDA inspector fails to count wildcats at Premier Exotic Cats


Photo of a bobcat kitten shared from Premier Exotic Cat's Facebook page.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspector Jessica Rivera has apparently failed to count numerous wildcats at Premier Exotic Cats, Milwaukee, WI.


Premier Exotic Cats is owned by Morgan Machnik who breeds, imports and deals in exotic cats including servals, caracals, bobcats, bengals, savannahs, Egyptian Mau and Maine coon cats.


The facility just had their first pre-licensing USDA inspection on April 8, 2021. At that inspection, Rivera documented only two servals at the facility.


A review of the social media accounts of Machnik and Premier Exotic Cats indicates that on March 11, five bengals, six servals, three Maine coons, two Egyptian Mau and one Savannah were at the facility. Machnik also said she owned a German shepherd and a high content wolfdog.


Milwaukee has no regulations on the ownership of wild or exotic animals in the city. According to Milwaukee ordinances, no more than four adult dogs, cats and/or rabbits are allowed in a home and a fifth dog, cat and/or rabbit can reside if the owner obtains an animal fancier permit.


“Anyone violating this will be subject to prosecution,” the city website says.


Machnik lives in Waukesha but used her mother's address on her USDA permit. Wildcats are banned in the city of Waukesha.


Recent posts on Machnik’s social media accounts indicate she may currently have up to 30 cats in her home and she has recently obtained a bobcat kitten.


Bobcats are regulated by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) which sets caging requirements for the animals. Machnik’s bobcat does not appear to have a cage. In photos and videos posted online, the animal is shown inside her home.


On July 10, after Roadside Zoo News notified the DNR about Machnik's bobcat, she listed it for sale.


Inspector Rivera, who apparently twice failed to inspect or count the animals at Premier Exotic Cats, is the same USDA inspector for numerous terrible roadside zoos in the area including the now-closed Special Memories Zoo, Wild Bill's Exotics and Animal Haven Zoo.


Premier Exotic Cats has been reported to the DNR, USDA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the city of Milwaukee. A city representative said they will be visiting the location of Premier Exotic Cats to determine if the facility is violating regulations.