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Purchasing a Leopard Cat?
Things you should know before purchasing a Leopard Cat!
Making sure your LC is Legal to own:

Leopard Cats are a wild and protected species. Some countries, states, counties, cities, towns, and villages have restrictions on ownership, breeding, and/or exhibiting wild protected species, but many allow them to be owned without any permits as long as they are not sold or exhibited.

Please, keep in mind that three Leopard Cat subspecies are now listed as endangered subspecies, they are p.bengalensis bengalensis, p.bengalensis iriomotensis, and the Tsushima Leopard cat, not yet given a scientific name. 

These three endangered subspecies and all undocumented subspecies are regulated by the Endangered Species Act and require Endangered Species permits to sell, purchase, transport across state lines, import, export, and/or even own. Unless you are a zoo, research, or a major breeding facility, ESA permits are next to impossible to obtain.

Unethical animal brokers still try to work around the ESA regulations by discarding documentation showing subspecies on animals that are endangered. Basically, adding to their endangerment. 

Any dealings in "Undocumented subspecies are dealing in BLACK MARKET endangered Leopard Cats", make no mistake about it. 

This is why US Fish & Wildlife now "REQUIRES PROOF" of subspecies on all Leopard Cats to make sure they are a non endangered subspecies. LCF supports USFW efforts to protect these endangered subspecies and hopes that all breeder's, especially Bengal cat Hybrid breeder's do as well.

Basically, USFW considers all Leopard Cats of un documented subspecies to be endangered and it is no longer legal to buy, sell, transport, Import, or Export non documented subspecies of Leopard Cats across state lines in the US without an ESA permit. USFW are confiscating any Leopard Cats they find without subspecies documentation that have crossed state lines or been imported at Ports of Entry. 

There are animal brokers and breeders in the US and around the world who are still offering for sale BLACK MARKET Leopard Cats without subspecies documentation. Please do not attempt to purchase these cats because their sale makes them subject to confiscation, euthanasia, and fines or lose of all your investment. 

All animal brokers and breeders both in the US and in other countries should already be aware of USFW requirements and should not attempt to sell you undocumented subspecies of Leopard Cats at any time. If they are, you likely part of a scam to take your money. 

Even if they are able to sneak an undocumented subspecies, falsely documented, or an illegally obtain Leopard Cat through, when authorities catching them, all their records will be confiscated and the authorities will eventually track you and your Leopard Cat down through emails and shipping invoices. Not to mention all their offspring including Bengal cats out of them will require ESA permits and could be confiscated as well.

So PLEASE for the Leopard Cat's sake, if you are planning to purchase a Leopard Cat, make sure they are a "DOCUMENTED SUBSPECIES" of a non endangered subspecies and that you are abiding by your country, state, county, city, town, village, CITES, ESA, USFW, USDA laws and regulations.

How to tell Subspecies:

If a Leopard Cat is a documented subspecies, all documentation, bill of sale, CITES, registration papers, Declaration of Import/Export, Pedigree information, health certificate, etc., should all have the full three scientific names.

The first name is the Genus: Prionailurus, second name is Species: bengalensis, and the third name is the Subspecies (one of the 16 recognized subspecies). If all it says it is " Leopard Cat", "Asian Leopard Cat", "prionailurus bengalensis" or "Felis bengalensis", the subspecies is missing, so it is not a documented subspecies and is considered endangered and not legal to buy, sell, cross state lines or import, export to or from countries and are "BLACK MARKET" Leopard Cats. 

Examples: "prionailurus bengalensis chinensis" is the "chinensis" sub specie. "prionailurus bengalensis euptilura" is the "euptilura" subspecies. "prionailurus bengalensis bengalensis" is the endangered "bengalensis" subspecies. "prionailurus bengalensis" does not indicate subspecies, so it is an undocumented subspecies and is considered endangered by USFW and part of the Black Market trade of Endangered species or subspecies.

Also, keep in mind that subspecies documentation will also effect importing and exporting  Bengal cats who  go back to a Leopard Cat of undocumented subspecies as they too will be considered descendants from an endangered subspecies of Leopard Cat. Bengal cats have already been confiscated crossing Canadian/USA borders, because they were of undocumented subspecies Leopard Cat decedents. 



The following articles were published in Newspapers or made available on the internet for public viewing and are available here under the 
US Freedom of Information Act..

Man Pleads Guilty to Cat Smuggling
Published on 5/10/2007

The head of small cat organization could receive up to  five years in prison for smuggling endangered subspecies of Leopard cats.

The American head of a Europe-based small cat organization has pleaded guilty to federal charges of illegally selling and transporting two endangered Asian  leopard cats to Miami.

At the time of his arrest, David G. Sparandara was director of the Czech Republic-based organization European-American Consortium for Small Felines. Authorities said Sparandara shipped one Asian leopard cat through Miami International Airport in January 2005.

Another Asian leopard cat that he tried to ship through the Miami airport in December 2005 was intercepted and submitted to federal authorities. Investigators learned that proper Endangered Species Act permits were not in order for the transactions.

Paperwork showed that the first Asian leopard cat was being sold to an importer for more than $4,000.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Sparandara could receive as many as five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release and an order of restitution at his July 20 sentencing.

 US Citizen Sentenced For Illegally Selling Asian Leopard Cat - US Attorney 

  Prosecutions 
 North America 
 Source: US Department of Justice, US Attorney's Office 


US Citizen Sentenced For Illegally Selling Asian Leopard Cat - US Attorney
Posted on Friday, July 20, 2007

LAWFUEL - The Law Newswire - R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and Eddie McKissick, Resident Agent in Charge, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced today that David G. Sparandara, 46, a U.S. citizen residing in Prague, Czech Republic, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Miami in connection with the illegal sale and transportation from the Czech Republic to Miami of a live Asian Leopard Cat, Felis (Prionailurus) bengalensis bengalensis, an endangered species, in violation of the federal Lacey Act, Title 16, United States Code, Sections 3372 and 3373.

United States District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan sentenced Sparandara to a term of six (6) months of home confinement, a fine of up to $1,500.00, and five (5) years of probation. Additionally, the leopard cat involved in the commission of the offenses charged in the Indictment was forfeited to the United States.

The feline involved in this matter, is of a taxonomic sub-species specifically listed as an endangered species of wildlife, pursuant to the list of such species promulgated by the Secretary of the Interior in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 17.11. It was first listed in June 1976. A small wild spotted cat, weighing about 10 pounds, the nocturnal feline is generally solitary and prefers brush and forest habitat. Asian Leopard Cats are prized by afficionados for their rarity and color pattern. However, they also have substantial commercial value in the pet trade due to their susceptibility to hybridization with domestic cats, which produces the “Bengal cat” pet species. According to statements in Court, the organization run by Sparandara in fact was little more than the feline version of a “puppy mill” which sold leopard cats to private breeders in the United States to produce Bengal cats for the high end pet trade.

According to the case records and statements in Court today, in January 2005 a Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Inspector in Texas became aware that the defendant, and a Prague-based entity known as the European-American Consortium For Small Felines of which he was the Director, was preparing to ship two Asian Leopard Cats to the United States. Investigation by the Inspector revealed that no one associated with Defendant, the Consortium, or the named recipients held valid Endangered Species Act (ESA) permits for the importations as required by law. 

Defendant was specifically advised of the restriction by the Inspector, but made no effort to acquire the necessary ESA permits, and re-routed one of the leopard cats through Miami International Airport on February 2, 2005. Paperwork accompanying the bengalensis indicated that it was being sold to the importer for in excess of $4,000. A subsequent effort by Sparandara in December 2005 to ship another bengalensis into Miami resulted in the interception and seizure of the feline.

The Division of Management Authority, within the Fish & Wildlife Service administers the ESA permit program and issues permits in accordance with as strict set of regulatory guidelines. Permits related to species designated as endangered are only issued to bona fide scientific and research facilities with the specific goal of enhancing the propagation or survival of the wildlife under consideration. The ESA list is a compilation of species which have been determined to be so depleted in numbers that they are in danger of extinction.

Mr. Acosta commended the coordinated investigative efforts of the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service Agents and Inspectors The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas Watts-FitzGerald and Certified Legal Intern Courtney R. Berman. 

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov. 

Source: http://lawfuel.com/show-release.asp?ID=13677


U.S. CITIZEN SENTENCED FOR ILLEGALLY SELLING AND TRANSPORTING AN ASIAN LEOPARD CAT
July 20, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and Eddie McKissick, Resident Agent in Charge, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced today that David G. Sparandara, 46, a U.S. citizen residing in Prague, Czech Republic, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Miami in connection with the illegal sale and transportation from the Czech Republic to Miami of a live Asian Leopard Cat, Felis (Prionailurus) bengalensis bengalensis, an endangered species, in violation of the federal Lacey Act, Title 16, United States Code, Sections 3372 and 3373.

United States District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan sentenced Sparandara to a term of six (6) months of home confinement, a fine of up to $1,500.00, and five (5) years of probation. Additionally, the leopard cat involved in the commission of the offenses charged in the Indictment was forfeited to the United States.

The feline involved in this matter, is of a taxonomic sub-species specifically listed as an endangered species of wildlife, pursuant to the list of such species promulgated by the Secretary of the Interior in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 17.11. It was first listed in June 1976. A small wild spotted cat, weighing about 10 pounds, the nocturnal feline is generally solitary and prefers brush and forest habitat. Asian Leopard Cats are prized by afficionados for their rarity and color pattern. However, they also have substantial commercial value in the pet trade due to their susceptibility to hybridization with domestic cats, which produces the "Bengal cat" pet species. According to statements in Court, the organization run by Sparandara in fact was little more than the feline version of a "puppy mill" which sold leopard cats to private breeders in the United States to produce Bengal cats for the high end pet trade.

According to the case records and statements in Court today, in January 2005 a Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Inspector in Texas became aware that the defendant, and a Prague-based entity known as the European-American Consortium For Small Felines of which he was the Director, was preparing to ship two Asian Leopard Cats to the United States. Investigation by the Inspector revealed that no one associated with Defendant, the Consortium, or the named recipients held valid Endangered Species Act (ESA) permits for the importations as required by law.

Defendant was specifically advised of the restriction by the Inspector, but made no effort to acquire the necessary ESA permits, and re-routed one of the leopard cats through Miami International Airport on February 2, 2005. Paperwork accompanying the bengalensis indicated that it was being sold to the importer for in excess of $4,000. A subsequent effort by Sparandara in December 2005 to ship another bengalensis into Miami resulted in the interception and seizure of the feline.

The Division of Management Authority, within the Fish & Wildlife Service administers the ESA permit program and issues permits in accordance with as strict set of regulatory guidelines. Permits related to species designated as endangered are only issued to bona fide scientific and research facilities with the specific goal of enhancing the propagation or survival of the wildlife under consideration. The ESA list is a compilation of species which have been determined to be so depleted in numbers that they are in danger of extinction.

Mr. Acosta commended the coordinated investigative efforts of the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service Agents and Inspectors The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas Watts-FitzGerald and Certified Legal Intern Courtney R. Berman.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Technical comments about this website can be e-mailed to the Webmaster. PLEASE NOTE: The United States Attorney's Office does not respond to non-technical inquiries made to this website. If you wish to make a request for information, you may contact our office at 305-961-9001, or you may send a written inquiry to the United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida, 99 NE 4th Street, Miami, Fl. 33132.

Source:  http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls/PressReleases/070720-02.html


Please Note: LCF has been in continued contact with the US Citizens that claim they sent David G. Sparandara, residing in Prague, Czech Republic  of the European-American Consortium For Small Felines, approximately $5000.00 plus $600.00 shipping expenses for a legal Leopard Cat cub. They have stated in recent emails that they still to this day (September 20, 2008) have not received a legal Leopard Cat cub nor a full refund of the money they sent him.  Mr. Sparandara has told people he has made restitution with these people, yet not one has confirmed it.  It is illegal to import or export Leopard Cats or to transport them across state lines within the US without subspecies documentation proving the cats are not an endangered subspecies.  If you are also a victim of this scam, please contact LCF as soon as possible. LCF has NEVER done bussiness with David G. Sparandara, residing in Prague, Czech Republic or the European-American Consortium For Small Felines. It is my opinion that it is no more than an exotic feline kitten mill to exploit the endangered subspecies as stated in the articles above.


LC Care:

Leopard Cats can live up to 20 years with proper diet and care. Unfortunately most Leopard Cats are not raised to be good house pets, nor are most trained to use a litterbox. LCF bottle fed and trained all their cubs to use a litterbox right from the start. They require raw meat diets, which should include day old chicks, young mice, and/or whole pray. Unless you are willing to feed them exotic diets like these and if unsocialized, provide outdoor housing for the next 20 years, you should not even think about owning a Leopard Cat. 

Temperament:

Though not an aggressive species, Leopard Cats have a strong instinct to fear humans and will seldom make good pets because of this. Most non bottle raised and unsocialized LC's will rarely come out when humans are present and are extremely fast, able to run out an open door in a flash. They are also very strong  and have been known to go through a window screen without much effort as well as turn and open door knobs. They usually start spraying and marking their territory at a young age (7 months). Even females will spray if not fixed. If they are bottle raised and socialized, like at LCF and fixed at 6 months of age, they can make outgoing friendly pets and if kept whole better breeder's, but will soon not make good pets once hormones start to control their natural habits to mark.

Hybrid Breeding:

Most animal dealers and exotic breeders will not tell you the fact that 90% of all Leopard Cats will never breed a Bengal cat or other domestic cat, know matter how they are raised. Think of it this way, would you by a stud cat from someone knowing 9 out of 10 of the cats they sell will NEVER BREED for you?

Even if you hit the lottery and are lucky enough to find one that will breed domestics, they are usually  very unpredictable breeders and will only be attracted to a few domestic queens and that is if the domestic queen will even allow them to breed them. Some Leopard Cats will not even breed with Leopard Cats in captivity and some will pair and breed only with one mate for life and have been known to never breed after a mate has died.

Also, you MUST be prepared to bottle raise, train and socialize all Bengal kittens out of them. The last thing the Bengal world needs is more poorly socialized and untrained Early Generation Bengal cats out there.

Captive bred Leopard Cat genes are much too important to THEIR species, to just be used in a Hybrid breeding program or for many to be sold as pets. It is important that their be a large gene pool maintained in captive Leopard Cats of documented subspecies be breed to like subspecies. So unless you want to become part of the problem, most of you should maintain a pure subspecies breeding program for them. Once enough of a subspecies has been established in captivity, their offspring can then be offered to non breeding homes and is another reason to know what subspecies they are.

Regardless what some would like to think, the only way Bengal hybrids will ever help preserve the Leopard Cat species is by raising funds for a pure subspecies Leopard Cat program like LCF did for many years. 

Summary:

1. You need to make sure the LC is of a documented
    subspecies and legally raised. Contact LCF before
    purchase or USFW about subspecies. USDA does not
    matter as they do not know anything about them. 
    Being a USDA facility does not mean that cats are 
    legal, always check with USFW for legality.
2. You need to acquire all certificates, permits and/or
    licenses required in your country, state, county, 
    city, town, or village, before hand.
3. Leopard Cat ownership requires a 20 year 
    commitment and responsibility.
4. Leopard Cats are a high maintenance animals and
    requiring special raw exotic diets and if not socialized 
    special housing as well. 
5. Leopard Cats seldom make good house hold pets 
    and are naturally afraid of humans. Bottle feeding
    and early socialization and training is a MUST!
6. 90% of Leopard Cats will not mate with a Bengal 
    cat or other domestic cat, regardless how they are
    raised. This may be lowered if socialized and raised
    with domestic cats, but LCF research never found
    any facts to it and found zoo raised LC's had the same
    odds of breeding domestics. Also, some subspecies
     seem to be more prolific then others.
7. Each Leopard Cat carries unique genes that are
    invaluable to the future of their species. It is up to
    you, to be part of the solution, not part of the
    problem, by only purchasing Leopard Cats of 
    pure subspecies that are well established in captivity. 

Bottom line, the Leopard Cat species is already a threatened and endangered species in the wild. Their numbers in captivity especially in documented subspecies are even in worse shape. 

Because of this, every Leopard Cats unique genes are invaluable to their sub-species. Unless you plan to breed pure subspecies of Leopard Cats, please don't purchase any that have not yet been established well in captivity and do not support people who do. Most of all do not purchase undocumented subspecies, supporting the "Black Market trade" in illegal Leopard Cats. Don't believe breeder's who do, check with USFW, before purchase and help stop the exploitation of these amazing species known as a Leopard Cat.
 


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