A bobcat ruined Melissa Patno’s holiday and changed her life forever.
Just around dusk Nov. 22, the bobcat got into her home, which backs up to Desert Foothills Parkway between Chandler Boulevard and the freeway, and seized her 9-pound Pomeranian, a family pet of nearly 15 years
By the time Patno and her husband found little Drake Teddy, it was too late.
“He was alone in the backyard, Patno said. “My daughter heard him yelp as he was either coming inside or going outside through the doggie door. I went out shortly after to look for him in the yard, but could not find him.
“My husband and I went down to the wash with a flashlight and located the bobcat with our dog. My husband scared it away and gathered our dog’s remains.”
Patno said the cat apparently jumped onto the back wall to get into the yard “and then took our dog back over the wall.”
The attack was the latest reported incident in a string of assaults on pets in Ahwatukee by bobcats or coyotes in recent months.
Joe Allen, owner of Animal Control Phoenix, a company specializing in handling wildlife pests, sayid on his website, “Bobcat attacks are on the rise in Phoenix.”
“Bobcats are considered to be a predatory species because of their habits of attacking pets, animals and livestock,” Allen advises. “They are generally not considered to be a threat to humans, except in cases of rabies.”
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.
Like coyotes, 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 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.
Patno hopes people in the general area where she lives will alert to the “bobcat preying in our neighborhood and watch their small pets very closely.”
For now, she and her family are dealing with their loss.
“We are heartbroken and devastated to lose our beloved family pet,” she said.