An Ahwatukee man’s rescue dog narrowly escaped serious injury after it was attacked by a bobcat in his backyard on 29th Street off Liberty Lane.
The bobcat attacked Allen Gobel’s Yorkie Sandy in the backyard around 8 p.m. Sept. 13.
And since that attack, Gobel said he’s been told by neighbors there was other three bobcat sightings in a nearby park and another on 30th Street in his neighborhood.
“I’ve never seen one before except at the zoo and I’ve lived here 25 years,” Gobel said. “The only thing that has changed is the freeway.”
Gobel described a harrowing confrontation with the bobcat after he heard a noise in the backyard when Sandy was outside.
He came out and found Sandy bleeding from a neck wound.
After he got the dog into the house, Gobel’s other Yorkie ran into the backyard and that’s when he and the bobcat had a stare-down.
“I tried to shoo him away and he was just looking at me,” said Gobel, who then picked up a ball and threw it at the cat, hitting him and sending him running off.
Sady was hospitalized for two days and is “starting to wag her tail again,” Gobel said, although the dog is on three pain medications and had a drain attached to its neck for several days to make sure there is no bodily fluid buildup.
Sightings of bobcats and other wild animals have picked up across the Valley in recent months, according to Allen Animal Control, a company that specializes in trapping wild animals in Ahwatukee and throughout the Valley.
“Our advice is that there is NO safe technique for home or business owners to remove a bobcat from their property,” the company says on its website, calling bobcats “very territorial” as well as noisy.
“Bobcats are common throughout Arizona, even in developed areas, but tend to live in the Rimrock and Chaparral areas, and on the edge of urban areas where abundant food supplies exist,” his website advises.
Bobcats look much like domestic cats, but are much larger, with long legs and distinct pointy ears and short ‘bobbed’ tails.
While they are not known to attack large dogs and people unless rabid, bobcats can get into garbage cans and look at smaller animals as prey.
“Bobcats are attracted by pet food, outside watering bowls, unsecured garbage cans, fruit under trees, unattended small pets and areas providing shelter,” Allen says, noting they can jump as high as 12 feet and “easily clear standard 6’ block wall fencing.”
He advises that people who encounter a bobcat should scare it away by making loud noises, waving hands or sticks in the air or throwing whatever is available or using mace or pepper spray.
“Move toward other people or areas of safety,” he advises. “Keep eye contact and DO NOT run away.”
To keep them away from your property, Allen advises to leave no food sources, including fruit under trees; secure garbage can lids, keep bushes and grass short, and install motion-sensing lights and sprinklers.