Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bobcat that wandered Florida country club is euthanized

Bobcat Caught In Isleworth Is Euthanized
Animal Was Roaming Area For Months

POSTED: 9:13 pm EST January 8, 2009
UPDATED: 2:41 pm EST January 9, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A bobcat seen roaming in the exclusive Isleworth community near Orlando has been euthanized, as required by a new Florida law.

A local animal control company caught the bobcat Thursday morning after it had been roaming for months on the streets of the community where celebrities like golfer Tiger Woods live.

Because the animal could not be released back on the property where it was first trapped, it was euthanized, as state law now requires. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said it is a safer alternative for the animal and the public, because wild animals can carry diseases that could harm humans and other wildlife.

People living in Isleworth noticed the 35-pound wild bobcat about three months ago.

"I was called out by the Isleworth Country Club security," said Jimmy Tanski, of Critter Control.

The private community eventually placed a call to Critter Control to take care of the animal. Two weeks later, the bobcat took the bait.

"Where I caught him was right near a recreation area there in Isleworth," Tanski said.

Before July 1, 2008, Critter Control would've released the animal back into the wild.

"We had release points out in the forest areas, and we had signed documents with people who would let us release them out on their properties," Tanski said.

But that's all changed. A new state law says that nuisance animals -- like bobcats, raccoons and possums -- can no longer be relocated to a different habitat once trapped.

"This new state statute is pretty cut and dry," Tanski said. "Once trapped, the animal either has to be euthanized in a humane way or released back on the property where it was trapped in the first place."

The bobcat was euthanized Thursday night.


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