Domesticated bobcat taken from home

DOWNEY, Calif. "Bobby" is a 2-year-old, 44-pound bobcat living in Pico Rivera with the Carlson family since he was five weeks old. The family always knew it was illegal to own a bobcat in the state of California, but couldn't resist bringing it home from a breeder in Montana.

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Since that time, Bobby has been raised among dogs, cats, birds, even kids.

"Our cat has never been a problem," said Bobby's owner, Ron Carlson. "All the neighbors love him. They're always bringing people over to see him and pet him."

He may have been popular in the neighborhood, but he wasn't as cute to onlookers from the train that runs behind the Carlsons' house.

The Department of Fish and Game received a call from someone riding that train, who said they'd spotted an exotic cat in that back yard.

Soon after, local and state authorities were knocking on Carlson's door.

"A bobcat running loose in the neighborhood is a lot different than a domestic cat running loose in the neighborhood," said Aaron Reyes, Southeast Area Animal Control Authority (SEAACA).

The animal was found in excellent health and for now will remain in Downey at the SEAACA animal shelter until authorities decide where to place him next.

SEAACA officials say releasing Bobby into the wild isn't even an option. The exotic cat comes to them de-clawed, and wouldn't be able to defend himself in his natural habitat.

A number of reputable animal-care facilities are being considered for the cat's long-term placement.

"Just know that we're going to take the best care of Bobby as we possibly can," said Reyes. "We're going to make sure he gets placed into a good home."

In the meantime, the state is reviewing the case, with the owner possibly facing legal consequences.


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