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UPDATE: Rocky the Bobcat May Not Be Going To His Manahawkin Home After All

Rocky sleeping with Fine's pet cat LC
Rocky sleeping with Fine's pet cat LC
By Patricia A. Miller

Rocky the Bobcat may not be going home after all.

Stafford Township Municipal Court Judge Damian G. Murray said a last-minute report from Fish and Game investigators who had reviewed the matter determined the Montana seller who sold Rocky to Virginia Fine only sold purebred bobcats - not bobcat hybrids.

Bloodwork on the 38-pound Rocky will be done at the Popcorn Park Zoo Friday and DNA results should be back in a week.

"If you have a 100 percent bobcat, it should not be in your backyard," Murray told Fine.

Murray signed a search warrant granting Fish and Game the right to have the bloodwork done on Rocky.

Fine - who has had the declawed cat since he was five weeks old - was visibly upset during the hearing and held back tears as she spoke to Murray.

She questioned why reporters had been allowed to see three-year-old Rocky at Popcorn Park, but she has not been able to.

"He's lived in a house his whole life," Fine said. "He's used to being with the cat (her cat LC). I think it's unfair. He has never hurt anybody."

"I sure wouldn't want my grandchildren to walk up and pet your cat," Murray said.

Murray said he had no authority to allow Fine to visit Rocky.

Rocky was missing for roughly ten days until Fine was finally able to locate him frightened animal in the woods near the Cedar Run section of Stafford. Rocky had bonded with LC - Fine's cat, so she brought the cat to the woods. When the cat meowed, Rocky appeared.

Murray asked her what Rocky had eaten while he was gone.

"He didn't go down to ShopRite," Murray said. "Let's just hope it didn't rekindle some feral instincts."

Fine said Rocky was underweight when she brought him home.

Sleep has not come easily the last few weeks for Fine since her beloved bobcat went missing from their Bernard Drive home in Beach Haven West on March 25.

When she brought Rocky home after she found him,  Rocky did nothing but purr and head butt Fine and the little cat. Then Fine said she tried to do the right thing. She called Stafford police to tell them Rocky had been found.

Fine said she thought she had an agreement with police that Rocky could remain at home during the days leading up to the court date. 

The police officer at the other end of the line told Fine they would be there in an hour to remove him from the home. She decided not to let police into the house to retrieve Rocky.

Fine said she thought she had an agreement with police that Rocky could remain at home during the days leading up to the court date.

"When I got him back, I was very confused about telling them," she said. "I kind of didn't want to tell them."

The police officer at the other end of the line told Fine they would be there in an hour to remove him from the home.

"I lost it," she recalled.

Fine will have to see if she can obtain a state permit to keep Rocky if the bloodwork shows he is a bobcat, Murray said.

"I appreciate your affection for the animal," he told Fine. "We have to go through the proper procedures to see the public is protected."

"I'm not giving up," Fine told Murray.

The matter was adjourned until the bloodwork results are back.


mike mc April 12, 2014 at 12:59 PM
who brought the "fish & game" into this? my gosh don't they have anything better to do with their time? next thing you know this will be bumped up to some federal prosecutor for review!! in the meantime towns are handing out "comp time" illegally to well placed individuals..along with $90,000 worth of going away gifts to them..but lets take care of the REAL problem, poor old rocky lets put him away for life!!!
Susan Solheim April 12, 2014 at 01:17 PM
I always donate to popcorn zoo but will think twice now. judge Murray shame on you. This is not the crazy tiger lady of Jackson for gods sake the animal is declawed. Spend our tax payer money elsewhere. Send rockey home!
Joe Zeamhin April 12, 2014 at 09:53 PM
"Judge" Murray. Shouldn't these decisions be up to the popular consensus and not up to an overpaid tool like Murray who absolutely only cares about money and his own status. What a great local government we have.
FIMF the ll April 12, 2014 at 10:00 PM
BAN POPCORN PARK! De Claw Damian!
Vanhiesen April 18, 2014 at 08:38 AM
I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll take your pet down!

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