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Fla. deputy encounters bobcat wounded in the street, carries it to safety without being clawed

“Due to the bobcat’s injuries, the animal was docile and surrendered to the help the deputy was providing,” the Lee County Sheriff’s Office stated


This photo of Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy Vincent Lopez holding an injured bobcat has gotten hundreds of reactions on social media. (Lee County Sheriff’s Office/TNS)


By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Wounded animals are notoriously vicious, so it was with great risk that a sheriff’s office deputy in Florida picked up an injured bobcat and put it in his patrol car.

What happened next left commenters slack-jawed on social media.

A photo shared by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office shows the predator willingly curled up in deputy Vincent Lopez’s arms like a 30-pound house cat.

“He was able to get this stunning fur baby to safety and transport him to Blue Pearl Animal Hospital where he reportedly will make a full recovery!” the sheriff’s office reported in a Jan. 7 Facebook post.

Bobcat attacks on humans are rare, but have happened, according to the National Institutes of Health. They grow to about 30 pounds in Florida and aren’t known to tolerate the company of humans.

So how did Lopez avoid getting “shredded,” as one Facebook commenter put it?

“Due to the bobcat’s injuries, the animal was docile and surrendered to the help the deputy was providing,” the Lee County Sheriff’s Office told McClatchy News in an email.

Lopez, who joined the department in 2021, used heavy-duty gloves and a blanket, but was largely vulnerable to the predator’s claws and teeth.

The photo has gotten more than 4,300 reactions on Facebook, with commenters marveling at how calm the bobcat appeared as the deputy carried it to his patrol vehicle.

“How in the world did that bobcat let him get that close?” Lacreasha Goodpaster wrote.

“Amazing that it’s not fighting him,” Bonnie Covey said.

“He’s lucky that he’s walking away without a scratched up face and body, but for that poor baby to be so relaxed like that he must’ve been feeling extremely bad!” Jonathan Motte posted.

It’s suspected the bobcat was struck by a vehicle Jan. 7 near the intersection of Bonita Beach Road and Interstate 75, the sheriff’s office says.

A nearby resident was the first to report it lying in the road, with its back legs appearing to be immobile.

The bobcat was transferred to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) in Lee County. Clinic staff have not returned messages seeking an update on the wild cat’s prognosis as of Jan. 9.

Lee County is about 130 miles southeast of Tampa.


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