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Bobcat Killing Raises Hackles Among Animal Advocates

This bobcat kitten was taken care of by Predator Defense years ago. (It's not the same one found at Oakhill School this week.)
Brooks Fahy
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Predator Defense
This bobcat kitten was taken care of by Predator Defense years ago. (It's not the same one found at Oakhill School this week.)

The leader of a Eugene-based advocacy group is urging changes to the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife’s policies toward predator animals after a bobcat was killed this week.

This bobcat kitten was taken care of by Predator Defense years ago. (It's not the same one found at Oakhill School this week.)
Credit Brooks Fahy / Predator Defense
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Predator Defense
This bobcat kitten was taken care of by Predator Defense years ago. (It's not the same one found at Oakhill School this week.)

A juvenile bobcat got into an office at Oakhill School in Eugene Wednesday. Authorities removed it from the building and it was later put down. Joe Stack is an assistant district Wildlife Biologist with ODFW in Springfield. He says the cat’s comfort with humans was a concern and that it could have posed a danger to children, especially if it carried a disease.

“From the information that we were given, or at least I was given, that was probably the appropriate decision.” Stack says, “We can’t take a risk as an agency of having a wild animal, especially close to a school, attack or injure a child.”

The ODFW used the term humane euthanasia, but Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense says there was nothing humane about their treatment of the animal.

“This little guy just walked into the wrong room.” Fahy says, “And all that really needed to be done was to open a door, open a window and this cat would have walked or run away.”

Fahy says the bobcat was probably more afraid of the people than they were of it.

“I can’t think of one case when a bobcat has attacked a human being.” Fahy told KLCC. He says the killing of the bobcat was ethically wrong and sets a bad example for the students at Oakhill.

A second bobcat showed up on the campus of Oakhill school on Thursday. It did not go inside the buildings. The cat was taken by officials to be evaluated by ODFW wildlife veterinarian Dr. Julia Burco. Burco said in a press release that the cat is likely about 6 months old and in good physical condition. She did not find evidence of illness or disease. The cat was released back to forested habitat on BLM land in Lane County according to ODFW.

Fahy says the approach ODFW has to predators relies too much on use of lethal methods. He points to California where their polices are different and it’s more rare to kill a bobcat, cougar or bear.  Fahy wants to push state lawmakers to change ODFW’s protocols. He’s urging the public to contact legislators.

The Humane Society of the United States also objected to the killing of the bobcat. Humane Society of the United States Oregon Senior State Director Kelly Peterson said: “This situation is just the latest of many examples of a lethal overreaction by ODFW to an animal who posed absolutely no threat to anyone. This was a young kitten, likely with her mom waiting for her return. It is growing more difficult to trust a state agency charged with protecting our wildlife when time and time again these kinds of responses show they cannot be trusted with such an important role. They simply must do better.”

Copyright 2019 KLCC.

Copyright 2019 KLCC

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Rachael McDonald is News Director at KLCC. She’s been with the station for more than 10 years. Previously, she established the Richland, Washington bureau for the Northwest News Network. She also worked as News Director at KAZU in Monterey, California. Rachael has won numerous awards for her reporting.