Bobcat spotted numerous times in Palm Beach Gardens neighborhood

Residents worried for young children, small pets

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla – Neighbors in a quaint, quiet neighborhood off PGA Boulevard have recently spotted bobcats in the area and some have even seen a bobcat in their backyard.

Most people who have young children and small pets are worried for their safety, especially with Halloween Wednesday night when the children will be out in full force.

"You can see the bobbed tail and it’s not tiny," one resident said.  

"I'm really, really concerned," another neighbor, Malissa Fiore, said.  

The animal was spotted in residential neighborhoods and near schools.

"It was in June," Sue Tunis said. "She started barking and I looked out in the back and I could see it coming across the backyard slowly, just sauntering by, and that’s it. It went to the next neighbor."

Neighbors living off PGA Boulevard said they've seen the bobcat several times since April and believe it's all due to the nearby forest preserves being torn down in order to make room for new developments.

Just about a mile away from the residential neighborhood is a sports complex that is in the works.

"Pretty sure it's the land that has gotten cleared. They just don't have a place to go. That's a lot of dense forest up there," Tunis said.  

While some neighbors don't seem too bothered, others with small children and pets are upset with the city, saying they aren't doing much to protect both the public and the bobcats.

"If they cared, they would take care of these animals. If they don't care about the animals, they don't care about us," Fiore said.  

Palm Beach Gardens released a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying they will have an increase of police presence in the area.

"The reported presence of a bobcat in the Shady Lakes neighborhood of Palm Beach Gardens is, and will remain, a private issue," the statement read. "Throughout the City, many neighborhoods frequently experience encounters with wild animals.

"In a community like ours, with conservation areas and lush landscape buffers, this is not unusual. If the presence of a wild animal makes a resident uncomfortable, it is up to that resident or homeowner’s association to consult with professionals who specialize in humanely relocating wildlife. In a phone survey of local homeowner's associations we found several who have, and will continue to, hire trappers to relocate wildlife, including LandMark, The Island at PGA, Marlwood HOA, Lang Management, Bay Hill Estates, Carleton Oaks and Cedar Gardens."

City officials confirmed that the city began clearing land for The Gardens North County District Park in April. According to the statement,  the land clearing phase of the project was completed in May.

"Claims that construction activity at the District Park project is the source of the bobcat in Shady Lakes are completely unfounded," the statement read. 


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