A Stafford woman named Ginny Fine owns a 38 pound bobcat hybrid she calls Rocky. It turns out the bobcat had gone missing since March 25th, but returned home this weekend, only to be carted off to the Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township pending a court hearing to determine whether or not Rocky stays with Fine.

While you might consider a bobcat, or in this case, a bobcat “hybrid”, a wild animal – fact is Fine has owned the cat since it was 5 weeks old and has had it declawed.

Hence, not so wild anymore.

However, the cat had run off before – and that’s where the problem comes in.

According to this report from the Press of Atlantic City:

In October, Rocky escaped through the front door of the home by using his feet to open the door handle, Fine said.

After that escape, in addition to a $500 fine and summons, an agreement was reached between Fine and the township in case the animal ran away again.

A copy of the agreement that the Press of Atlantic City obtained has specific verbiage in the agreement regarding any issues with the hybrid after that court appearance that states the following:

“Any subsequent running at large, biting, or attacking, on or off the owner’s property will cause the hybrid feline to be immediately seized and a hearing requested, with no option of agreement.”

So as of right now, the matter will be in the hands of a judge who will decide whether Rocky is returned to Fine, or sent off to the Popcorn Park Zoo to live out its days.

Which, by the way, is a fine facility I’ve had the pleasure of visiting some time ago – with a very caring staff who I’m sure will care for Rocky’s needs – should that be the cat’s fate.

Anyway, according to this account from app.com:

Police Capt. Tom Dellane said he did not know Rocky’s fate.
“That’s entirely up to the judge,” he said.

Fine, who has a Municipal Court appearance at 1 p.m. Friday, said she doesn’t know whether she will see Rocky again.

While Fine said that she knows she was wrong and accepts responsibility for the bobcat getting loose, she believes the situation could've been avoided:

“The day he got loose, he had only been out 10 to 15 minutes when a neighbor must have seen him and called the police. He was only two yards down from the house,” Fine said. “Had we been given another 10 minutes to coax him back in ... if they had just given us a few minutes, this whole situation could have been avoided.”

Instead, Fine said, Rocky ran when police vehicles pulled up.

But the fact remains, Rocky had still been missing for a couple of weeks.

Which raises the larger question as to whether or not wild animals belong in the wild, or if somehow domesticated, should remain with their “owner?”

I might be inclined to give Fine a pass since she's had Rocky for a long time. But the bobcat seems to want something Fine can't give it.