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Animal Law

Is bobcat a wild animal or a hybrid? DNA test will determine if NJ woman can keep her pet

Posted Apr 14, 2014 3:55 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A New Jersey woman got a municipal license for her pet bobcat by claiming he was a hybrid.

But officials are now dubious that Ginny Fine was right, and a judge has ordered that Rocky be held at a local zoo while results of a DNA test are being awaited, reports WCAU.

“Fish and Game feels this, in fact, may not be a hybrid cat—that it may be a purebred bobcat, in which case Ms. Fine has no right to that animal,” said Judge Damian Murray of Stafford Township Municipal Court.

Rocky's escape last year brought the 38-pound feline to the attention of authorities.

Fine says she purchased him from a Montana breeder and is upset about the loss of her pet.

“He’s like my child. He’s like my baby that is now in jail and doesn’t know anybody loves him. He’s just all alone,” she told the station.

A Daily Record article includes a photo of Rocky.

Fine says he is a bobcat mixed with Maine coon, a long-haired breed of housecat. Some 400 individuals in Morris County and more than 4,000 statewide have licensed exotic animals ranging from parrots and ferrets to poison dart frogs, the newspaper notes.

A number of cougars and monkeys that couldn't legally be kept as pets in the state wound up at Popcorn Park Zoo, where Rocky is currently being held.

“They’re cute and cuddly until they mature," director John Bergman told the newspaper. "Then they’re not so cute and cuddly anymore. They’re tough.”

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