A Rhode Island family was left mourning the loss of their dog last week when a bobcat entered their backyard and killed the small canine, carrying it away.
According to WJAR, an NBC affiliate, the bobcat attack took place in Coventry, RI, in the Hunters Crossing neighborhood. The news outlet states a bobcat had been sighted near there before. Speaking about the tragedy, Coventry Animal Control Supervisor Carolyne Lacombe said, “Unfortunately, I believe the family saw the incident.”
Dr. David Kalb, the supervising biologist with the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) also offered his sympathy for the family in the wake of the bobcat attack. However, he also expressed the importance of coexisting with wildlife and maintaining the safety of family pets.
“We regret the situation that happened,” Kalb said. “It’s certainly unfortunate.”
Of the predator, he added, “Bobcats are probably one of the most reclusive species that we have in the state, so we do consider them to be uncommon.”
As such, he and the rest of the DEM want Rhode Islanders to enjoy wildlife as much as possible. However, they also want people to simultaneously keep safe distances and practice safe habits around typically unpredictable animals.
“We just want to encourage people to enjoy wildlife,” he stressed. “Understand that they have a niche in the ecosystem and we want to make sure that they’re safe.”
How Rhode Islanders Can Keep Their Pets Safe From Bobcat Attacks:
We offer our sympathies to the family that lost their dog to the bobcat. But know there are many steps humans can take in maintaining a positive relationship with wild animals in general. Dr. Kalb insists one of the biggest issues attracting animals like bobcats to human-infested regions is people feeding wildlife.
In his statement, Kalb stressed, “[Feeding wild animals] leads to most of the problems that we find with wildlife species.”
Obviously one of the biggest issues with feeding wildlife is that animals such as bobcats begin to lose their fear of humans. Occasionally, they even become dependent upon that bit of sustenance that they no longer need to work for. But that’s just the beginning.
Kalb also said, “There’s an ecosystem chain that happens and when wildlife are being fed, they’re being concentrated and concentrated wildlife leads to problems not only for human beings but it can also spread diseases.”
Kalb also emphasized that despite the severity of the loss, bobcats and other native wildlife have just as much right to occupy the area as humans do. In order to keep family pets safe from future encounters with wild predators, Kalb said he and the DEM “advise people to check their rabies status for their animals, keep pets on a leash, [and] try not to let your cats roam free.”