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Bobcat scare near kids gym in Costa Mesa

October 12, 2009 12:34:33 AM PDT
There was a bobcat scare near a children's gym in Costa Mesa on Monday.Some employees of Team OC called authorities after seeing the animal jump from branch to branch around 8 a.m.

The gymnastics and dance facility, where about a thousand children come and go throughout the day, is located in an industrial area in the 300 block of Clinton Street, near the 73 Freeway and John Wayne Airport.

"I couldn't believe it, it took a while, I kept looking and sure enough it is a bobcat," said witness Stephanie Zargar. "And we got everyone out here to take care of it. But again we have kids out here so that's our main concern."

Animal control officials say the animal was a healthy, adult bobcat.

"It was a very healthy cat, as a matter of fact, it wasn't emaciated, I'm normally used to seeing cats like that, but this bobcat was very healthy. He's got a good diet going," said Larry Stephens, Fish and Game warden.

The bobcat stayed put in one tree for some time. Officials from the Department of Fish and Game, animal control, and the Costa Mesa police and fire departments showed up to try to get the bobcat down safely.

"If they're surrounded by children or by anybody, yeah they could get vicious, they have teeth and claws," said Stephens. "We did a little brainstorming, we came up with the idea that we could hose it with water and that it would find its way back home."

Just after 11 a.m., the animal jumped down from the tree and took off after an official squirted some water near it.

It's unclear where the bobcat went, but authorities believe it has a den nearby.

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