How to Handle a Bobcat Near Your Home

It is possible to get a license to trap and kill a bobcat

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    Ariel Haas
    This bobcat was spotted at Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley in December. Just one of the recent sightings reported by North County residents.

    Two bobcat attacks in the same area of San Diego in one week have some residents worried. However, wildlife officials say the sightings aren’t unusual.

    While it is extremely rare for a bobcat to attack a human, it’s common for the animal to go after small pets like the rabbits and chickens that have been attacked in San Diego County recently.

    On Tuesday, Rancho Penasquitos residents say a bobcat jumped a 6-foot fence to get to 15-pound French Lops rabbits. A week earlier, a bobcat attacked a pen of chickens in the backyard of a Torrey Highlands home.

    The attacks weren't surprising to Rich Burg, Senior Environmental Scientist for California Department of Fish and Wildlife. In fact, he said a bobcat can easily clear a 6-foot fence.

    Bobcat Attacks Pets in North County Neighborhood

    [DGO] Bobcat Attacks Pets in North County Neighborhood
    NBC 7's Catherine Garcia explains how a new attack by a bobcat has residents in one San Diego community on edge. (Published Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014)

    The animals are not endangered and the department doesn’t consider them a public safety issue.

    Just like coyotes, bobcats are normally out at night and in the early morning hours in canyons, open spaces and golf courses in the Scripps Ranch and Rancho Penasquitos areas.

    While they tend to hunt for rodents and other small animals, Burg said bobcats can be opportunistic hunters if they should happen upon a pen or cage that’s accessible.

    If a bobcat gets too close, Burg suggests homeowners should simply try and scare the animal off.

    Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Discusses Local Bobcat Sightings

    [DGO] Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Discusses Local Bobcat Sightings
    NBC 7's Matt Rascon speaks to the Department of Fish and Wildlife about the recent bobcat sightings in San Diego County, including those in residential areas. (Published Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014)

    “If they find one in their yard or their driveway, they can shoot it with water from the hose or a supersoaker with a couple capfuls of ammonia will sting their eyes," Burg suggested.

    He also suggested throwing rocks or making loud noises. 

    Pet owners can relax because Burg said it would be unusual for a bobcat to take on an outside cat because the cat would be able to fight back.

    “Bobcats are only about twice the size of a normal house cat. I would be more concerned with rabbits and chickens than household pets like dogs or cats,” Burg said.

    Because bobcats are not endangered, it is possible to get a license to trap and kill one.

    As for calling someone out to remove the animal, Burg said homeowners should not call the state.

    The Department of Fish & Game is not staffed to remove bobcats nor are they mandated to do so.

    The county’s wildlife services will come out for a fee to remove nuisance animals, Burg said.

    If you do choose to raise chickens and rabbits on your property, the Department of Fish and Wildlife suggests you lock them up in an area where a bobcat can't easily get to them.