Missing Pet Bobcat Found Safe

A pet bobcat that was on the loose in a Jersey Shore town was found safe over the weekend, according to the animal's owner.

On March 25, Virginia Fine's 38-pound domesticated bobcat, Rocky, went missing from her home on Bernard Drive in Stafford Township, N.J.

"He's sweet, he's nice, he's super affectionate with me," Fine said. "He is a house pet."

Rocky escaped through her home's back door while playing with her dog, prompting Fine to post signs around her community that read, "Help me get home...I miss my family," alongside playful photos of her pet.

Fine got the nearly 3-year-old bobcat, who is up-to-date on all his shots and declawed, when he was 5 weeks old from a breeder in Montana.

"He is third-generation captivity. He’s never been wild, his parents have never been wild," she said. "He has no aggression at all. He has never hurt anybody."

But Fine's description didn't calm the fears of those living nearby.

"Even though it's declawed, it still has teeth and it has the instincts to bite," said Jim Pinkowski, a neighbor who feared for the safety of his grandchildren. "I'm an animal lover, basically, but not a wild animal like that."

Fine, who has a township permit to own the feline, insisted that Rocky was a gentle creature despite his size.

"His inclination is to be more timid with strangers," she said.

Fine told NBC10 that the bobcat was found over the weekend in the woods. Stafford Township Police also told NBC10 that Fine did not report the animal was found until Monday.

After Rocky escaped, Fine was issued her second summons since September. Local law prohibits pets of any kind from running loose.

Police say the animal, which they referred to as a "bobcat hybrid," was seized pending Fine's hearing in municipal court on Friday. The animal is currently being cared for at Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township.

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