Bobcats Causing Concern In Gallatin Neighborhood - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Bobcats Causing Concern In Gallatin Neighborhood

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by Heather Graf

GALLATIN Tenn. - Far too close for comfort.  That's how folks in one Gallatin community feel about the bobcats they say are taking over their backyards.  They also say they're getting little help from wildlife officials.

Kimberly Jackson spotted the animals for the first time last weekend.

"I've seen a total of four, especially in the mornings," she said.  "And they're not scared of us at all, you know, they'll stand right there and look at you."

Jackson believes one is a full-grown bobcat, and the others are kittens.

Still, she says, they are getting bigger by the day.  That's why she's worried about pets and small children in her neighborhood off Hartsville Pike.

"That would just be devastating, devastating, I can't imagine," she said.  "And some of these little kids are so small, it would take nothing, as big as the one I saw this morning."

She's not the only one who is concerned.

"I mean, if they were to attack one of our dogs or what not, we wouldn't even have a chance to do anything about it," said neighbor Mike Thomas.

He says he saw the bobcats kill two rabbits in his backyard, and it took just seconds.

"We've got no one to turn to, basically," he said.

That's because Thomas and Jackson have both made phone call after phone call to county and state officials, asking for help.

"All I've got from everybody is you're going to have to hire someone to trap and re-locate them, that's the best I've got," said Jackson.

She's also been told that service can cost between $300 and $400 per bobcat.

NewsChannel 5 spoke to officials with the Sumner County Sheriff's Office, who told us animal control there only handles domesticated animals, and referred us to the TWRA.

A TWRA spokesman told us bobcats are native to Tennessee, and for that reason, there's very little wildlife officials can do when they show up in a neighborhood.

He also says they have no history of violence against people, although he does advise residents keep a close watch over small pets.

He said residents are allowed to hire a private contractor to cage and remove the animals, at their own expense. 

Jackson fears it will be only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt.

email: hgraf@newschannel5.com

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