In Springfield, Missouri, a three-week-old bobcat kitten was euthanized on Wednesday despite the public’s outcry to spare the animal’s life and send her to a preserve where she would have been raised, weaned and eventually freed out into the forest to live her life. According to the News Leader, authorities insisted state law stated wild animals cannot be quarantined like domestic pets, should there be a concern about rabies.
The tiny bobcat’s story became news one week ago when a property owner had been bulldozing his property and found the kitten. The man called the Missouri Conservation Department, who told him to call Georgia Lafita, a certified wildlife rehabilitator. Georgia said she would be glad to care for the kitten for 12-weeks, until it could be weaned and then freed back into the wild. Another bobcat at the facility could teach the little one how to hunt. The man brought the kitten to Georgia’s home, but not before he reached into the crate and the tiny frightened kitten bit him on his finger in self-defense. Although she only had four teeth, the injury broke the skin. It was suggested the man consult a physician about the bite. Sadly, that one tiny bite was the beginning of the end for an innocent, wild creature.
Georgia named the kitten Lamia and wouldn’t let anyone else hold her as she was being bottle-fed; taking no chances the kitten would have a human imprint which would have made her a victim of hunting in the years to come. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department, however had other ideas and insisted the kitten be euthanized and her severed head sent to state officials in Jefferson City to be tested for rabies.
“I’m crushed. That cat is perfectly healthy. Her eyes are clear. She has lots of energy, shows no signs of illness at all,” Georgia told the News-Leader when they visited her home on Tuesday.
On Wednesday morning a conservation agent removed the kitten from Georgia’s home. She had fed the kitten her final bottle before she was whisked away forever. Big Cat Rescue had offered to take the kitten and pay for all the rabies shots the man needed – just in case. That didn’t work out, however since the man had recently undergone heart surgery.
And as every animal advocate mourns the death of an innocent wild animal baby, Georgia wants to remind everyone not to “handle wildlife. ” Should the situation of wounded wildlife come into someone’s purview, call a specialist – preferably a professional from a licensed wildlife sanctuary to help.
Rest in peace little Lamia. We are so sorry that humans let you down.
Photo of baby bobcat was euthanized via Big Cat Rescue.
Read the baby bobcat’s original story here.
Read about the dog who had been dead and curled up in his dog house – no one ever checked on him.