A 38-pound pet bobcat escaped from its New Jersey home over the weekend, three months after its last escape and less than three weeks after its owner vowed it would never get loose again, police tell NBC 4 New York.
Police say the bobcat, named Rocky, escaped from Virginia Fine's Ocean County home Saturday morning.
A complaint from a neighbor prompted a response from the township’s Animal Control, which issued a summons to Fine for the animal “running at large.” Fine managed to corral Rocky after about an hour.
She is scheduled to appear in Stafford Township Municipal Court on June 13. A phone call to Fine Thursday morning was not immediately returned.
The partially declawed feline has been in the spotlight since late March after he got loose from Fine’s house, prompting concerns from neighbors and police. He was missing for days before turning up.
As a result of a previous court order stemming from a prior escape last fall, authorities seized Rocky and took him to the Associated Humane Societies’ Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township.
A DNA test to determine if Rocky is a purebred bobcat, illegal to own as a pet in New Jersey, or a hybrid, proved to be inconclusive. As a result, Rocky was returned to Fine May 19, three days after Stafford Township Municipal Court Judge Damian Murray ruled she could have him back as long as an enclosure outside her home passed an inspection by township officials.
Murray also ordered Fine to pay a $1,000 fine and more than $200 in restitution. She now faces an additional fine.
Following the May 16 hearing, NBC 4 New York asked Fine if Rocky would be getting loose again, to which she adamantly replied, “Never, ever … I don’t ever want to do this again.”