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Nuisance bobcat chased people in neighborhood before getting shot

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Updated: 9/14/2013 12:26 am
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Neighbors in the Seaside community in Ponte Vedra called in deputies to help after a possibly rabid bobcat chased them around the neighborhood.

Robert Wilsie's camera captured the scene Friday afternoon, as armed St. Johns County deputies chased the cat into a back yard.

"This animal had been all around the neighborhood," said Wilsie.

Wilsie says it was thin, erratic and aggressive.

"The animal was a danger to the community," said Wilsie.

Deputies were unable to capture it, and decided their only option was to shoot it, but not everyone thought that was right decision.

"I was thinking it was a panther by the look of its face," said Wilsie.

Florida panthers are highly endangered, with only about 100 still in existence. Although they're native to South Florida, the FWC said there's a chance some are residing in northeast Florida. That is why the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office told Action News they called in wildlife experts to be sure, who quickly determined it was really a Florida bobcat.

A closer look at Wilsie's pictures shows the bobcat was much smaller than a typical panther, had a shorter tail, and black markings on the ears.

Wilsie said wildlife is moving closer to homes as St. Johns County develops.

"Guana Park is only about a quarter-mile from here, and so is Nocatee. With all the new homes, it doesn't surprise me that wild animals are making their way into our neighborhoods."

He hopes this is a scenario he never witnesses again, and believes, in this case, police did the right thing.

"Regardless of what it was it was a menace. Had the animal gone off we'd be telling a different story right now if it had injured someone."

The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office says deputies were confident it was bobcat before taking action. They did not call FWC officials first, which is protocol if the animal is in question. A spokesperson with the FWC says they believe police acted properly because the cat was visibly ill and a danger to people in the community.

The FWC has handed the case over to state health officials who will determine if the bobcat was rabid.
12 Comment(s)
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

kellimarie1114 - 9/16/2013 9:07 AM
0 Votes
Look up pictures, it clearly was NOT a bobcat.

kellimarie1114 - 9/16/2013 9:06 AM
0 Votes please tell me which of these BOBCATS looks like the animal that was shot??? They killed an endangered Florida Panther/Mountain Lion, there's no doubt about that. Way to go!!

Hades - 9/15/2013 8:36 PM
1 Vote
To whitdemo; this cat was NOT rabid. It was NOT a bobcat. Look at it VERY carefully IF you can. That is an endangered Florida Panther they shot and killed. A young one at that. Barely aged out of its spots. These officers should be suspended immediately WITHOUT pay for NOT following procedure and calling FWL. If this cub had indeed been rabid, it would have NEVER gone anywhere NEAR THE WATER as rabies causes severe HYDROPHOBIA in infected animals. Please educate yourself on this disease before you speak. These cops took an FEDERAL level illegal action, and should be held accountable for their crime.

1country - 9/15/2013 11:37 AM
1 Vote
whitedemo/moron ! please tell me where it says the bobcat was rabid. I think it says possibly! The wrong agency took care of the bobcat. We had an officer that was dying to shoot his weapon and kill !!!

Canine Watcher - 9/15/2013 8:48 AM
1 Vote
I've watched this video carefully and realized this is a young mountain lion cub. It probably chased people to initiate play. These brutes killed an endangered Kitten.

whitedemo - 9/14/2013 11:27 PM
0 Votes
you people are morons it had rabies needed to be put down,

1country - 9/14/2013 7:54 AM
1 Vote
chased them around the neighborhood???? now think for just a minute!if that cat had wanted to catch someone it would have!! GIVE ME A BREAK dumb a--.

cookiepie - 9/14/2013 1:48 AM
0 Votes
this is really tragic when will ppl learn that with each animal they needlessly kill it takes away nature and without nature we have no life we are all connected ..... man is so self centered and selfish ... wildlife and game could have captured it and treat it medically if needed and relocated it .... it was a hungry terrified animal that was doing what was normal for an animal we take away its habitat and say it was acting sick .... man is sick and will take man down eventually because of this kind of selfish behavior... shame on the person or persons who killed this beautiful creature when there are tranquilizer darts available .. i hope they are haunted forever in there dreams ....

MrCitizen - 9/13/2013 11:33 PM
1 Vote
This was a job for animal control experts; not, a heavy handed police response ........ :^(

1country - 9/13/2013 5:16 PM
4 Votes
Looks like all it's doing is looking for a fish dinner!
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