STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A pet bobcat that has escaped from its owner's home multiple times since April will be made to live at a zoo, a judge ruled Friday, and its owner will be fined for letting it run free.
Rocky the bobcat has been the subject of an ongoing legal fight between owner Ginny Fine and town officials because of the repeated escapes. A judge in Stafford Township fined Fine $500 and ordered her to pay $560 in restitution to the zoo, where the bobcat has been since it last escaped in October.
"This should be an end to the tortured history of this case," Municipal Judge Damian Murray said. "Some things are not meant to be. Rocky living in your household is one of them."
Fine pleaded guilty to letting the bobcat run loose in October after she left it under her son's care while she was in Japan.
A month earlier, she told the judge an enclosure would keep the 38-pound bobcat on her property. Animal control officers had to trap it in a nearby wooded area.
Fine has said Rocky is a hybrid of a bobcat and a Maine coon cat. But DNA tests were inconclusive. She would have needed a special permit if Rocky were a purebred.
Fine's attorney, Curtis Dowell, told the judge Fine has tried to prevent another escape and Rocky hasn't harmed anyone.