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Thursday, December 11, 2008


'Santa' Attacked After Woman Brings In Bobcat For Holiday Photo

From NBC News:

His white Santa gloves suddenly became red and Jonathan Bebbington says he's got the wounds to prove this was no ordinary kitty.

"It hurt, it had a lot of power in its jaws," said Jonathan Bebbington.

The volunteer Santa Claus was repeatedly clawed and bitten by what he believes was a 30-pound bobcat.

"It was about that large, she was walking it around on a harness," Bebbington said.

It's the pet. Yes, the pet of a woman who brought it to this Petsmart store in Mays Landing Sunday morning for photos with Old Saint Nick. Bebbington says the bobcat didn't become violent until it was on his lap.

"I never expected this while volunteering to do this," explained Bebbington.

"The person was saying how she paid 15-hundred dollars to have this animal shipped in from Wyoming," Christine Tartaro of Penny Angels Beagle Rescue said.

The photo shoot benefitted Penny Angels Beagle Rescue. The woman is believed live in Egg Harbor Township, but she and the young bobcat split before anyone got her name.
Organizers want to find to her and get their hands on the creature's veterinary records.

"Without the record of the shots, I have to go through a series of rabies shots which are very painful," added Bebbington.

It's NOT LEGAL to have a bobcat as a pet in New Jersey. Violators could face a fine of up to $5,000.

Vincent Sonetto of Cape May County Zoo says "any kind of wild animal is just not a good idea for a pet, regardless of how nice it is. Eventually, it can snap."

Jonathan says "if you're a pet owner, you have to be responsible."

Petsmart will be paying Jonathan Bebbington's medical bills. Meanwhile, authorities are working to track down the woman and her biting bobcat which left this Santa scarred for Christmas. Santa "Clawed" Attacker Comes Forward

Elusive no more. The owner of a large cat that attacked a man posing as Santa Claus last weekend in South Jersey came forward Wednesday.

Despite initial fears that the animal was a bob cat—illegal to own as pets in New Jersey-- the animal’s owner,  Christine Haughey insists "Benny" is actually an 8-month old Pixie Bob, a recognized, legal breed.

It is“a unique breed of cat with bobcat heritage,” according to the website, But the head of the Atlantic County S.P.C.A. can't be certain and Pixie Bob breeders across the country have been contacting NBC10 to say they believe it is a bobcat.

He shouldn’t worry, she said. Haughey showed NBC10 Benny’s veterinary records and rabies tag to prove the cat has received all necessary vaccinations.

Last Update: 12/10 12:26 pm

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