3 Hurt After Family Mistakes Kittens for Bobcat Cubs — It’s a Warning

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
May 11, 2018US News
3 Hurt After Family Mistakes Kittens for Bobcat Cubs — It’s a Warning
(Tribune - KTLA - Los Angeles screenshot / Videoelephant)

NTD Photo

A family said that they mistook bobcat cubs for Bengal kittens.

“My brother called and he said he had some Bengal kittens at his house in McCoy,” Jane Dinscore of San Antonio, Texas, told KSAT-TV.

Her brother, she said, found the kittens in the attic of a shack on his property and called his sister, asking if she wanted one. James Dinscore said he thought they were Bengal kittens.

In all, three people were injured by the cubs.

“She tried to feed them some kitten milk, and during the process of doing that, three people were bitten,” said Lisa Norwood, a spokesperson for the local Animal Care Services agency (ACS), USA Today reported. “Not bad bites, but bites nonetheless. They’re seeking medical attention right now.”

The family initially told officials that they found the bobcat cubs in an alleyway, but they later admitted that they were found by a relative and were then brought to San Antonio, Reuters reported.

“Bengal kittens look like house cats. They do not look like wild cats,” Norwood said Thursday, Reuters reported.

“Once they started taking a look at the kittens, seeing how big they were, how robust they were, how their tails were bobbed,” they began wondering, ‘You know what, these don’t look like your standard house cat. Maybe we should call somebody.’ Thankfully, they did,” Norwood told USA Today.

The family is now under investigation for potentially violating Texas wildlife laws.

“In raising young ones like this, who should have never been taken from their mother, we have to work very hard to make sure they remain wild,” Lynn Cuny, founder of Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, said, Reuters reported. “Human beings are not their friends, we’re their enemies,” she said.

If the cubs cannot be reunited with their mother, they will remain for a year at the rescue center’s 212-acre (85.8-hectare) sanctuary and then be released into a protected habitat, she said, Reuters reported.

“The best advice is for people to leave wild animals alone, especially babies, because their parents are almost always nearby,” Cuny said. “Anytime you take a baby wild animal in, you’ve made their situation worse.”

Now, the ACS Field Enforcement Division is working with the Texas State Parks and Wildlife agency to figure out whether charges will be filed against the family.

“After conducting the initial investigation, these additional details make this a much more severe issue from a rabies control standpoint, from a jurisdictional standpoint and from a legal standpoint,” ACS assistant director Shannon Sims told USA Today. “With the increased implications and the fact that this falls under the jurisdiction of our Texas Game Wardens, we will continue to work with them to investigate the potential criminality of the animal’s capture and relocation.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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