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Residents near Rolling Hills Country Club in Arlington reporting bobcats

ARLINGTON -- When she heard about bobcat sightings near the Rolling Hills Country Club, Darlene Kanemura had the clue she needed to solve the mystery of the disembodied squirrel tails she found in her yard.

Then she came face to face with the suspect.

"I was stunned," said Kanemura, who found a large cat sitting near her driveway about three weeks ago. "I looked over and said, 'Scat!'"

To her surprise, the cat obliged.

Such encounters are not unusual in neighborhoods along and northwest of the Rolling Hills Country Club, north of Interstate 30 and east of Cooper Street. For now, the sightings appear to be generating more amusement than concern -- at least among the human residents.

The baby duck population around the country club ponds has dropped to near zero, residents said this week. But they were quick to point out that hawks and coyotes patrol the area and that turtles have been known to snatch ducklings. (And the ducks could have relocated on their own.)

The city animal services department has gotten no calls about bobcats in the country club area -- and it doesn't want to.

"The only time we would want to know about the bobcats is if they're walking and stumbling, like they're sick," said Ray Rentschler, the city community services supervisor over animal control. "That can be a sign of distemper or rabies, and that would be when we're concerned about it."

The bobcats are apparently wandering down from River Legacy Parks, where they have lived in large numbers and interacted with parkgoers for years.

Mary Phillips, who lives in Rolling Hills Estates, said she has had no problems with the cats but is curious about one thing.

"We've lived here 35 years, and we've had all kinds of animals -- armadillos, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, snakes, even horses," Phillips said. "I've never seen one bobcat, and all of a sudden we're having a proliferation of them."

Rentschler said that he doesn't have a hypothesis for the migration but that bobcats pose no danger except to their prey, which includes squirrels, rabbits, rats, mice and birds.

He hadn't heard of any attacks on pets. People can ensure against that by observing the city's leash laws for cats and dogs, he said.

"Basically, no one is concerned about [bobcats] because they're not an aggressive animal," said Faye Panzer, who lives in a gated community on the north side of the golf course. "And it's kind of exciting to see a wild animal just strolling around."

Rentschler believes that bobcats are all over the city. He deals with one that has a taste for the chickens he raises on his pasture in south Arlington, he said.

After losing several birds, he built a large pen that seems to have solved the problem. But the cat still comes around.

"He'll sit on the outside and watch the chickens," he said. "When I come outside, he'll watch me for a while.

"They're very nonchalant."

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