Authorities say a southwest Iowa man abused two bobcat kittens. Fifty-nine-year-old Richard Muff, Senior, of Clarinda was charged with a variety of offenses according to Deb Smith, the state conservation officer for Montgomery and Page Counties.
"He took two bobcat kittens out of the wild and filed their teeth and their claws down," Smith says.
The bobcats had baby teeth, but officials say filing those teeth damaged nerves and the bobcats are having problems eating. The wild kittens are now with a "wildlife rehabilitator" and the Clarinda man has gone before a judge.
"I charged him with two counts of unlawful possesion, transportation of the bobcat kittens and then, also, animal neglect," Smith says. "He paid fines totalling $700 plus (court) costs. He paid $400 in liquidated damaged to the state and then he also is ordered is ordered to pay restitution to the wildlife rehabilitator because the bobcat kittens will be with the wildlife rehabilitator until minimum November. If they’re not able to be released by November, she’ll have them until next spring."
Bobcats have a stubby or "bobbed" tail and grow up to be about twice as large as the common household cat. They are considered predators and generally live in woody or swampy areas.
"I want to reiterate to people: do not take wild animals out of the wild," Smith says.
The conservation officer says Muff told authorities he took what he thought were abandoned kittens into his care. "Just because they’re there by themselves doesn’t mean the mother is too far away," Smith says.
Conservation officers found the bobcats in Muff’s home in August. Muff was charged with hunting violations in the fall of 2007 and again in 2008. His hunting and fur harvesting privileges are now suspended until 2012 and he is not go along with anyone else who is hunting or who is checking traps.