Neighbors on edge with pet bobcat on the loose

STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, N.J. (NBC/WCAU) — People in a Jersey Shore town are on edge after a 38-pound pet bobcat escaped his home.

The owner says he is affectionate and wouldn’t harm anyone, but many are still concerned.

“He has no aggression at all,” said owner Ginny Fine. “He has never hurt anybody.”

Fine says Rocky’s a playful, affectionate 38-pound house pet. But for more than a week, the bobcat has been missing from its Stafford Township home.

“It’s horrible to not have him,” said Fine. “It’s worse to worry about what’s becoming of him out there.”

She says Rocky escaped through the backdoor while playing with her dog on March 25. Signs are up, and traps are down in the neighborhood. But the nearly 3-year-old bobcat hasn’t turned up.

“I’m not too pleased about it,” said Jim Pinkowski.

Pinkowski is among neighbors who say even though Rocky is declawed, they’re unsettled about him roaming loose.

“It still has teeth, and it has the instincts to bite,” said Pinkowski. “When our grandchildren come over, it’s scary.”

Fine says she bought Rocky from a bobcat breeder in Montana when he was 5 weeks old and insists he’s properly licensed through the township.

“He’s up-to-date on his shots,” said Fine.

But after his escape, authorities issued Fine a summons, which refers to Rocky as a bobcat hybrid, for running at large. It’s the second time since September she’s been cited for the same reason.

As a result, police say if Rocky is found, Fine won’t get him back right away.

“She’d be subject to immediate impoundment of the animal until such time as there was a further court hearing to determine what would be done with it,” said Stafford Township Police Capt. Tom Dellane.

“I think it’s shameful, honestly,” said Fine. “He is a house pet.”

As of now, Rocky remains missing. Authorities say anyone who sees him should call police immediately and keep their distance.

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