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3 Bobcats get comfy in O.C. neighborhood

May 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Three bobcats have set up house in an Orange County neighborhood, and residents have mixed feelings about the wild creatures. Melody Downey and her neighbor Jill have seen a lot of wildlife during walks through their neighborhood, but they were in for a surprise when they came across a full grown bobcat.

"She was so beautiful with her colors and it was amazing just how big she was," said Downey, who said the bobcat would swat at people walking by but mostly kept to herself, perched on a ledge watching traffic.

The bobcat and her two kittens were spotted playing in a nearby greenbelt and hanging out in trees for nearly a week. Downey grabbed her camera and started snapping photos, but she and her two sons kept their safe distance.

"We stayed across the street. We didn't want to go there, but at the same time, it was neat to see her during the day," Downey said.

Wednesday night, Downey saw that her neighbor had left her dog in the backyard, so she warned her of the bobcat. Her neighbor, in fact, had in her possession one of the bobcat kittens, thinking it was just a stray cat. The kitten was released and it found its way back to the mother.

Animal control officials say that they won't remove an indigenous wild animal unless it is threatening those who are sick or injured. But they warned residents not to feed the animals and to keep their distance.

"I'm hoping that's the last we see of her, because it's cool, but at the same time, we want her to go where it's safe for her and us," said Downey.

Officials say that if the bobcats and her kittens haven't already moved on, they will most likely move soon to a safer spot.


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