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Richardson Sees Spike In Bobcat Attacks On Pets

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RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) - Efforts to stop a spike in bobcat attacks on pets are running into an unexpected problem. For months animal control officers in Richardson have been trying to crack down on the bobcats.

The city has had some success with about six traps set throughout the city. Owners of pets killed by the bobcats are hopeful the problem doesn't get any worse, but they're asking for the public's help.

10-year-old Yorkie, Denali is one of the lucky ones. When a bobcat leaped into her backyard, it went after her owner's other Yorkie, Dakota.

"She's confused. She doesn't know what's going on. Last night when we were in bed she was looking around like, where's Dakota?" David Dinsmore said about Denali.

Dinsmore had just let his dogs out into the backyard for a few minutes before Dakota disappeared. It wasn't until he watched the surveillance video himself that he realized what had happened.

"I teared up. That's my wife's little dog, and we've lost our little dog," Dinsmore said.

City leaders say they've seen a surge in bobcat attacks on pets for months. Bill Alsup oversees Richardson's animal control. He believes last spring's high rainfall led to an abundance of food for bobcats' natural prey, which in turn helped grow the population.

"Mama and Daddy Bobcat are healthier. They have larger litters of baby bobcats, and they're better able to support and feed those bobcats to reach adolescence, and so the population has increased," Alsup said.

In response to the attacks on pets, the city set what they consider humane traps that capture the predators alive, but Alsup says they've had problems with vandals interfering with the traps.

"Once the small animals are gone, they might move to bigger animals, and I really am worried it could move to small children, so people that vandalize those traps need to think about that," Dinsmore said.

The city insists that the traps do not harm the bobcats, and they have been able to capture several and relocate them. After this most recent attack, animal control plans to double the amount of traps it currently has set.

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