EUGENE, OR (KPTV) - National animal groups, including The Humane Society of the United States, are raising concerns, saying they’re appalled by the way Oregon state officials killed a bobcat after it wandered inside a school in Eugene.
Video shows officials dragging a cat out of Oak Hill School in Eugene last week, the first of two kittens found there.
Lane County Sheriff’s deputies brought the cat seen in the video to the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division. OSP officials say the bobcat was euthanized humanely by blunt force trauma–but animal advocacy groups claim OSP did not follow protocol. They say not only should the cat not have been killed, it was not killed humanely.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said bobcats are usually not considered a human safety threat due to their small size; however, officials said it was displaying abnormal behavior, which led wildlife biologists to consider it a potential human safety threat.
In an email obtained by FOX 12, Joe Stack, ODFW’s assistant district wildlife biologist, says the bobcat was humanely euthanized by way of blunt force trauma, citing specific guidelines from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
But according to those exact guidelines, 'manually applied blunt force trauma' would not fall under humane euthanasia of a young bobcat.
From the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition, “Manually applied blunt force trauma to the head has been used primarily to euthanize small laboratory animals with thin craniums.”
And under General Recommendations: “Replace, as much as possible, manually applied blunt force trauma to the head with alternate methods.”
“It’s for neonates, for very small baby animals, very thin skulls. Certainly not an animal of this age. It would never be applied in this situation. It’s stunning that they would even reach for that,” Brooks Fahy, the executive director of a national wildlife advocacy organization, Predator Defense, said.
“It went from bad, to worse, to horrific. Every stage of the handling of this poor animal was being done incorrectly,” Fahy said.
Fahy and officials with The Humane Society of the United States are calling this act of euthanasia a “lethal overreaction.” Fahy says the bobcat never deserved to be killed in the first place.
“This was blatant animal abuse and torture,” Fahy said. “We have to not be so detached from nature. We share this planet with these animals, and to respond the way that these agencies have responded is wrong.”
OSP responded to FOX 12 in a statement late Thursday that reads:
“The Oregon State Police’s number one priority when dealing with wildlife is the public’s safety. The decision to euthanize the juvenile bobcat that was captured from inside the Oakhill School was based on safety of the public and the safety of the Officers involved.
On October 15, 2019, the juvenile bobcat had entered the school and remained inside the school where students and staff were present. This was very abnormal behavior for a bobcat or other wild feline, as they will avoid entering structures or getting near people.
Through our partnership with the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and based on the abnormal behavior of the bobcat, a joint decision was made to euthanize the animal.
The chosen manner in which this animal was euthanized (blunt force trauma) was to ensure the safety of the Officers involved. A single strike rendered the animal deceased instantly. Note this is a humane method of euthanasia according to AVMA guidelines (American Veterinary Medical Association), which OSP and ODFW follow.
Discharging a firearm was not safe or appropriate in this case due to the proximity of the officer, the potential for ricochet and the smaller size of the animal. Euthanasia drugs must be administered by a licensed veterinarian.”
As for the second bobcat, ODFW captured video of it being released back into the wild Friday after a physical evaluation showed the cat to be healthy.
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