Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bobcat attacks Florida man and is killed with hammer

By Keona Gardner |
10:33 AM EST, January 24, 2009

INDIANTOWN - Two men fought and killed a 30-pound bobcat that was attacking one of the men Thursday, according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission news release issued Friday.

Romeo P. Gomez, 28, of Indiantown, and an unidentified friend were working on a fence at a private ranch near the southwest section County Road 510 and County Road 76 in Martin County when they saw the bobcat near the fence line, according to reports from Okeechobee County Animal Control.

Gomez moved toward the fence while moving his arms to scare the bobcat away when it jumped on the man and began attacking him, the press release states.

That's when the other man grabbed a hammer and killed the cat, the release states.

Gomez was scratched and bitten by the cat but was treated and released from Raulerson Hospital in Okeechobee County, said FWC spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro.

Okeechobee officials plan to test cat for rabies, the release states.

"In normal circumstances bobcats are shy and reserve," Ferraro said. "They don't want to have anything to do with humans. But in most cases when an bobcat attacks it has rabies."

In December, about 10 bobcat sightings were reported in the Town of Sewall's Point and residents voiced their concerns at a Town Commission meeting.

At the meeting, Dan Martinelli, executive director of the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center, said he could not find evidence showing that unprovoked, healthy bobcats were significantly dangerous.


Property owners are allowed to trap bobcats and other "nuisance wildlife" under certain conditions that went into effect on July 1. Here is what the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rules say:

Definition of nuisance wildlife: Wildlife that causes or is about to cause property damage, presents a threat to public safety, or wildlife causing an annoyance within, under or upon a building.

Relocation and Transportation of Nuisance Wildlife: Live captured nuisance wildlife transported under authority of this section may be done only for the purpose of euthanizing the nuisance wildlife.

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