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It was a belated welcome to the neighborhood experience for Joanne and Roger Whitham.

On Thursday, Aug. 4, the Village of Oak Creek residents were watching television when they saw a pair of ears go past their deck. As it came around the corner they realized it was a bobcat, which is a rare sight.


“We noticed right away that it was limping,” Roger Whitham said. “Then we saw that its right front paw was dragging a large metal trap. It was struggling to drag it as it left a trail through the dirt.”

They then called 911, which transferred them to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department. They in turn advised them to call Arizona Game and Fish. Roger said an officer showed up about 35 minutes later and said he had received a call the day prior regarding the bobcat but couldn’t find it.

Messages left to Game and Fish for comment were not returned by press time.

Roger said the bobcat had made its way under their neighbor’s porch. As the officer went to get a long pole to catch the animal, Roger and Jo kept an eye on it.

The bobcat tried to flee up a wire fence but the trap got caught and the officer was able to get the loop around it. He was able to remove the trap from its paw. The animal was dragging a metal trap around its paw. Arizona Game and Fish came and was able to release the bobcat from the trap.

It appeared thin, so the trap may have been on its paw for quite a while, the officer told them. After being freed, the bobcat stood there for a minute and then ran off.

The couple asked why the officer didn’t take the animal. He told them that besides being thin and missing a few toes, the fact it put up a fight and ran off were good signs that it was not injured.

The trap appeared to be an older one that was used many years ago but are no longer legal to use in the area. The officer looked for any markings to determine a possible owner but none could be found.

“Lee [the officer’s first name] did a really amazing job and was extremely nice and knowledgeable,” Joanne said. “I’ve wanted to see a bobcat since we moved here six months ago — just not one with a trap attached to it.”

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