Hearing held over ‘inhumane killing’ of young bobcat

Animals

Veterinarians demanded the involved officials be held accountable

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The killing of a young bobcat has spurred a hearing over how the state responds to wildlife calls, with some calling for a full investigation.

The Oregon House Interim Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning after dozens of veterinarians across Oregon called for a full investigation into the death of the young bobcat.

On top of a full investigation, the veterinarians demanded the involved officials be held accountable. They also want the state to train officials who respond to wildlife calls on “humane and veterinary-approved handling of animals.”

The bobcat entered Oak Hill School in mid-October while students and staff members were present. Lane County Sheriff deputies caught it and handed it over to the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division.

ODFW said the bobcat displayed “abnormal behavior” and it was put down by an OSP trooper.

The Humane Society of the United States and national wildlife advocacy group Predator Defense later stated the bobcat was not humanely euthanized but rather killed by blunt force trauma to the head.

“ODFW and OSP should have humanely captured and either have consulted with or released this bobcat into the care of a wildlife rehabilitator,” Wildlife Protection Manager Haley Stewart-Reynolds testified.

Fish and Wildlife said the trooper followed euthanasia guidelines but veterinarians disagree. Sixty-two vets issued a letter to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, demanding immediate action be taken in addressing the “wrongful and inhumane killing.”

Lane County Deputies remove a young bobcat found inside of a Eugene school, Oct. 16, 2019. (Courtesy to KOIN)

Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association Oregon State Representative Dr. Katie Bahr wrote the following in a statement shared with KOIN 6 News:

“According to the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, manually applied blunt force trauma to the head is unacceptable for this species and situation. The method utilized in this case should more accurately be characterized as killing, and not as euthanasia. Furthermore, nonlethal alternatives for capture, removal and release could have been employed for this kitten, as they were for its companion.”

As a result of Wednesday’s hearing, Representative Brad Witt will be forming a committee to see what improvements can be made.

KON 6 News will have more information on the hearing shortly.

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