Wild cat on the loose in Baytown?

May 26, 2010 10:23:37 AM PDT
A dangerous animal is on the loose in one Baytown neighborhood. People say an ocelot has been roaming the streets and killing pets. Ocelots, also known as painted leopards, resemble large spotted house cats. They are more common in South America and Mexico, but have been found in Texas. Residents at one Baytown apartment complex believe that is what has been terrorizing them for weeks.

"He's still got a few scars on his face," said Baytown resident Jason Newman.

The Newman family's cat used to be named Boots, but now they call him Scarface after he survived a brutal battle.

"I heard a loud yelp and walked out here and the cat was on top of it, scratching it," Jason said.

The cat was attacked by what people at this apartment complex believe is an ocelot - a type of wild cat which they say has them living in fear.

"He had his claws in his back and my cat had blood all over his ears," said Krystal Newman.

Phillip Rogers snapped a few fuzzy photos of the large spotted cat.

"When it got closer, I knew it was an ocelot," said Rogers.

He says he's watched it kill several stray cats and dogs.

"I've seen it with a dog, a small dog, the day before yesterday. It was dead and it was carrying it back towards this way," Rogers said.

Neighbors worry their kids or children at the elementary school next door could become the animal's next prey.

"I got a little boy and he's scared. He comes running in the house said, 'Daddy, it's a big old cat out there chasing me,'" said Baytown resident Kerry Lee Johnson.

Baytown Animal Control placed a trap there last week and has been looking for the cat, but since they haven't seen it, officers are not ready to say it's an ocelot.

"It's possible because they are indigenous to the southwest," said Patti Jett, City of Baytown spokesperson. "It would be incredibly rare if it was."

Whatever it is, residents say they're scared enough to keep their kids and pets indoors until it is caught.

Baytown Animal Control says it does not have an ocelot capture in its records, but if this is one, Texas Parks and Wildlife will be called out to relocate it.


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