Caged bobcat shot dead by Murphy officer

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by CHRIS HAWES

WFAA

Posted on August 17, 2011 at 10:21 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 17 at 10:33 PM

MURPHY - A North Texas couple asked animal control for help with a bobcat in their neighborhood. They said they wanted the animal relocated after managing to trap it in a cage Wednesday morning.

But instead of moving it, a police officer shot the caged animal in the head.

Christine Smith first saw the bobcat while watering her garden two months ago. It was watching her small dog. She saw it several more times during the next few weeks.

“Never did he approach any of us,” Smith said.

Worried about neighborhood pets, she called Murphy Animal Control. An animal control officer loaned her a trap.

“I was under the impression the trap was in our backyard so they could relocate the bobcat somewhere where it wouldn't trouble others, and it would be able to live its life the way it was intended to,” Smith said.

On Wednesday morning, she woke to find the bobcat in the trap and called animal control.

“She told us they were not licensed to relocate the cat and they would have to euthanize it on scene,” Smith said.

Smith said it's the first time she was told the cat might be euthanized.

A Murphy city spokesman disagrees, saying Smith was told euthanasia might be necessary.

The city told News 8 the bobcat was aggressive and couldn't be sedated. It was at that point that a Murphy police officer pulled his gun and, Smith recalls, “pointed it through the top of the cage and shot the animal.”

Vicky Keahey runs In Sync Exotics, a wildlife rescue in nearby Wylie. She said she would have been happy to come get the bobcat.

“He didn't have to be killed, and I don't understand why he was, and I don't understand why he was killed the way he was," Smith said. "He was just scared."

Bobcats are considered nuisance animals by the state, and have no legal protection. Smith and Keahey hope public pressure will accomplish what the law cannot, leading to a change in policy.

E-mail chawes@wfaa.com

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