Local man kills bobcat; says it killed cat, preyed on other pets

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Charles Barnes faced an event this month no homeowner ever wants.

Barnes came face-to-face with a North Georgia native bobcat, which killed one of his pets.

“I was a broomstick length away from it,” said Barnes, a resident of the Young Acre subdivision on Ginger Circle for 23 years.

Barnes and his wife had been relaxing at their home on July 20 with their pets, including their 18-year-old cat that belongs to Barnes’ stepdaughter. Barnes said he had noticed the bobcat on his front porch hiding in some bushes where his cats stay. His wife had been taking their two Shih Tzus out before bed. He grabbed a broom and attempted to run the bobcat off, but the animal growled at him and appeared like it could lunge.

With his own safety and his wife’s at stake, Barnes called for his wife to bring him his shotgun, a .410, and he shot the animal.

He said the animal ran to the side of his house and died.

“It could have been so much worse,” Barnes said, adding the animal did not scratch or bite him, but he did cut his finger loading the shotgun.

Another of Barnes’ cats and his small dogs were unharmed, but the bobcat apparently killed his 18-year-old cat.

“When you’re face-to-face with something like that, it looks like an ominous animal,” Barnes said.

Troup County Marshal Deputy Michael Hockett responded to the incident. He said a situation involving a wild animal would traditionally be handled by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, who could capture and relocate the animal. However, due to the animal being deceased, they were able to transport it from the property. He and another deputy loaded the bobcat in their truck, according to an incident report from the Troup County Marshal’s Office. The animal was later transported to the city of LaGrange’s Animal Shelter for temporary storage.

“We didn’t see any signs of rabies,” Hockett said Tuesday.

According to information from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, bobcats are native to Georgia but usually avoid areas with a lot of people and development and only occasionally cause nuisance problems. They may occasionally prey on smaller livestock such as goats or chickens, but overall are not typically a nuisance problem.

Brent Wolmack, Region 1 GDNR supervisor, said the animal may have been attracted to the smell of pet food or the smell of someone cooking.

Wolmack advises residents to avoid putting pet food or food scraps outside a night to avoid attracting wildlife.

He also said residents should monitor their pets when they are let outside at night.

Residents with expansive, non-fenced-in yards may consider walking with their pets on a leash.

Barnes said his other cat, who ran off during the incident, is still missing. He said the experience has made him more vigilant of his surroundings, especially when his wife or pets are outside.

“I’m not a proponent of suggesting someone shoot anything and everything, but if you have to protect your property and your family, do what you have to do but be careful,” Barnes said. “People need to know that just because they live in a rural area, don’t think yourself perfectly safe.”

Chris Bussey, the City of LaGrange’s Animal Services Supervisor, said the bobcat was stored in the animal shelter’s on-site freezer following the incident and will be buried.