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Man sues Bountiful to bring bobcat home

SHARE Man sues Bountiful to bring bobcat home

A Bountiful man is asking a federal judge to allow a tame bobcat to return to the home where it lived for five years.

Jay Jensen kept a declawed and neutered cat, named Rufus, while scientists used its blood in rabies-vaccination tests.

Last year, while Jensen was on vacation, landscapers damaged the 20-pound cat's elaborate containment system and it got away.

Rufus was retrieved from a neighbor's yard, but he apparently has worn out his welcome in Bountiful. Jensen had a permit to keep the bobcat, but city officials opposed renewing the license.

Rufus now lives with Jensen's father in northern Utah.

"It's just pathetic that we've had to go to all of this," Jensen said. "But I have to save Rufus' little butt."

In the federal lawsuit, filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court, Jensen claims Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Officer Larry Davis and Bountiful prosecutor J.C. Ynchausti conspired to take the bobcat away.

He wants a court order allowing Rufus to return to Bountiful and $100,000 in damages.

Ynchausti refused to comment. Davis referred questions to John Kimball, director of the wildlife department. Kimball said his agency has never tried to take the cat.

Jensen's lawsuit claims Ynchausti threatened to "confiscate and destroy" Rufus.