Dog recovering after bobcat attack, Helena family says

Family suspects bobcat injured dog

Dianne Gentry's dog Lucie is home from the veterinarian clinic after a brush with death. Gentry believes a bobcat attacked her dog early one morning outside her Helena home on Old Kendrick Road. Lucie's liver and lungs were punctured. "They called and told me she had a 50/50 chance of survival," recalls Gentry.

The vet believes the injuries are more consistent with a coyote, but Gentry is confident it was a bobcat with pointed ears and a speckled coat that she saw near rocks and a stream on her property.

Birmingham Zoo's Predator Keeper Scott Kayser says the average bobcat is about twenty to twenty five pounds. Their diet consists of small game, things like mice, rabbits and squirrels. Kayser says it's not out of the realm of possibility one could go after a small dog or cat.

"These guys know better than to attack humans," says Kayser. But if they feel their kittens are threatened, bobcats may become aggressive.

If you happen to encounter a bobcat, Kayser says back away slowly. Don't make any sudden or threatening moves. Keep your eye on the cat and don't turn your back. "Cats are ambush hunters. They attack when their prey turns their back to them," warns Kayser.

He explains as we encroach more on bobcats and coyote's natural habitats the sightings are becoming more common, especially in the winter when food maybe more scarce. Kayser advises we leave them alone and try to look on the bright side. Coyotes and bobcats are a good form of pest control getting rid of rodents. He says don't look at them as a threat.

Bobcats can be found all across the state in a variety of habitats including wooded areas and canyons. Right now they are in breeding season.

If one is spotted in your area, it's a good idea to keep your pets inside. Don't leave pet food out overnight which may attract all types of wild animals. Dianne Gentry wants to be sure everyone is aware of the risk. She is keeping a closer eye on her pets.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources can answer questions and handle specific concerns.

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