BLOOMINGTON — The owner of a caracal cat is facing fines for alleged city ordinance violations after the pet got loose and scratched and bit a 6-year-old girl and scratched a 32-year-old woman Sunday.
Amy M. Doyle is facing a $1,000 fine for multiple offenses of not registering her animal and a $100 fine for permitting a cat to run at large, Bloomington city attorney Jeff Jurgens said Tuesday.
The child had injuries consistent with an animal bite, the Bloomington Police Department said Tuesday.
Police, firefighters and animal control workers were called about 10:45 a.m. Sunday to the area of West Locust and Mason streets after a caller reported an animal bite. The caracal was found and shot at 10:52 a.m., and the cat died.
Neighbors had described the animal as looking similar to a bobcat, but caracals are slightly larger.
Doyle also faces two identical citations related to a dog that was not registered and was running loose Sunday. City spokeswoman Nora Dukowitz said Bloomington does not have an ordinance specifically concerning exotic animals.
The caracal is a medium-sized wild cat native to Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and India. The San Diego Zoo website says the animal is usually about 18 inches high at the shoulder. Although its tufted ears are similar to a lynx, a caracal does not have the same markings.
"In our ordinance we've got registration requirements for both dogs and cats," said Jurgens, who added the fines were higher for Doyle because there were five times she failed to register the animals.
The Pantagraph was unable to reach Doyle for comment. Doyle is to make a first appearance in the city's administrative court at 8:30 a.m. July 17.
Jurgens confirmed that Doyle owned a Capuchin monkey that garnered social media attention in 2014 for playing in Franklin Park. He said he did not know if she still owned the monkey.
Bloomington police, McLean County Animal Control and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police said at that time that Doyle had properly registered the monkey and that her ownership of the monkey was legal.