Wild animals on prowl kill five Claremont pets

Two Claremont families are reeling after five pets were brutally killed by wild animals this past week.

Four dogs belonging to the Hadfield family were killed Tuesday night by what Arcie Hadfield thinks was a bobcat. The family had five dogs in all—Scooby, Nala, Boomer, Holly and Scooter, three of which are Chihuahuas.

The Hadfield family has had run-ins with wild animals in the past—Nala was injured by an unknown animal a few weeks ago, and since then the family has been putting their dogs inside their garage on Andover Drive before the sun goes down, Ms. Hadfield said.

“When we took Nala, the doctor said once they come, they will come back again,” Ms. Hadfield said.

But on Tuesday, the family was late coming home from a Claremont city council meeting, where Ms. Hadfield’s son was receiving an award for his work with the Claremont Police Explorers. When the family returned home around 7:30 p.m., they knew immediately something was wrong.

“Scooby was walking funny,” Ms. Hadfield said. “His neck was bleeding. We ran out and, sure enough.”

Boomer, Holly and Scooter were dead. Ms. Hadfield didn’t see their bodies, but was told by her husband that they were “gutted out.” Scooby was alive but in bad shape—his neck and his back were both ripped and bleeding.

“He put up a good fight, he was trying to defend the dogs,” Ms. Hadfield said.

The family rushed the 18-year-old Portuguese Hunting Hound to a veterinary hospital, but the prognosis was not good. The next morning, the vet told Ms. Hadfield that Scooby was “gasping for breath and suffering,” and was put down.

“He was a great dog,” an emotional Ms. Hadfield said.

Lt. Mike Ciszek of the Claremont Police Department did not confirm what kind of animal was responsible for the attack, but Ms. Hadfield thinks it was a bobcat. Bobcats had been seen in the area recently, and a neighbor told Ms. Hadfield he saw the animal on her wall around the same time as when the attack occurred.

Another small dog was killed in another North Claremont backyard on Monday morning. Randy Scott’s 8-year-old Maltese, Ringo, was let out of the house on Navarro Drive to do his business around 6:30 a.m.

“His routine is when he’s done he comes back to the back door and my wife lets him in,” Mr. Scott said. “It was peculiar when he didn’t come back.”

Mr. Scott’s wife went around to see if Ringo had somehow escaped through the front gate, and when she came back, she found his body.

Mr. Scott told the COURIER he had seen bobcats in the neighborhood in June or July, and his neighbor even took a picture of the animal. He had also seen coyotes in the neighborhood two nights prior, and one had killed a neighbor’s dog a few years back.

The attack has left both Mr. Scott and his wife “pretty numb,” and he believes the incidents could act as a warning to people in the area to secure their small pets away from where Bobcats or Coyotes are known to roam.

“I think we all have a false sense of security,” he said.

Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com

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