TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) – The inhumane death of a bobcat in Southern Arizona has officials demanding answers and they need your help.
This week, a bobcat was found dead hanging from a tree by an illegal leg hold trap.
This happened on Tucson’s Eastside near Colossal Cave Road and Mary Ann Cleveland Way. Arizona Game and Fish recovered the bobcat Wednesday and they’re offering a reward.
The reward is up to $500 for any information leading to an arrest of whoever used the illegal trap and hung the bobcat in the tree. Game and Fish said they don’t offer rewards often, but this is a very serious and sick crime.
“That bobcat was hung 20-feet off the ground. Someone had to go through a lot of trouble to get it up there and apparently, they wanted to make some kind of statement, but it’s a pretty sick statement,” said Mark Hart, public information officer for Arizona Game and Fish.
Cruel, sick, and outrageous are just a few of the words Hart used to describe this crime. Earlier this week, he said a construction crew saw the bobcat alive and didn’t realize it had the illegal trap on its leg. They found it later hanging in a tree in plain view of the public.
“The trap that the bobcat was caught in is illegal,” he explained. “It was a leg hold trap without pads or swivels. Those can’t be used, but it’s unclear to us whether the person who trapped it is the same person who placed it in the tree.”
Hart said the animal was suffering with its leg in the trap, but it’s unclear if the bobcat was alive at the time it was hung from the tree. The motive is still unknown, but it could be retaliation if the bobcat was causing problems in the area.
He said, “Using an illegal leg hold trap is not the correct way to deal with nuisance wildlife. If a bobcat were causing property damage, you could legally take it if you use the correct method.”
This illegal taking of wildlife is considered poaching, but there may be additional crimes with this case because of the way the bobcat was left in the tree.
″Four months in jail and a $750 fine for one count. There may be multiple counts in this instance,” Hart described the charges for the crime. ″In a case with crimes against wildlife, if you are found guilty in criminal court, you may face civil penalties from the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.”
Details are still limited and that’s where Game and Fish needs your help. If you saw anything or know anything about this, even something small, you’re asked to contact them at 1-800-352-0700. You can remain anonymous. You can find more details here.