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Injured bobcat on the mend after being hit by police car in Laguna Beach

Injured bobcat on the mend after being hit by police car in Laguna Beach
A bobcat, struck and injured last week by a police car in Laguna Beach, is pictured Friday recovering at Serrano Animal & Bird Hospital in Lake Forest. (Courtesy of Jeff Calvert)

A bobcat hit by a Laguna Beach police car last week is doing well in its recovery at an animal hospital, officials said Tuesday.

Police Officer Thomas McGuire said he was responding to a call at about 3 p.m. Feb. 19 when the wild animal ran onto Laguna Canyon Road.

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“Out of the corner of my eye I saw what looked like a cat,” McGuire said. Seconds later, his police cruiser struck the bobcat.

“I felt horrible,” McGuire said.

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McGuire pulled over and immediately contacted his boss. His colleague, Cpl. Darin Germaine, who was following McGuire in another police vehicle, pulled over to help.

“When I walked to up to it I realized it was still alive,” McGuire said. “I realized it wasn’t a house cat, it was like three times bigger than a cat. It was a bobcat.”

It had “a lot of fight left in it,” he added. “It was definitely trying to get away.”

The bobcat moved itself to the side of the road and lay on the gravel shoulder, indicating it might be seriously injured.

The bobcat lies injured on the shoulder of Laguna Canyon Road on Feb. 19.
The bobcat lies injured on the shoulder of Laguna Canyon Road on Feb. 19. (Courtesy of Thomas McGuire)

McGuire and Germaine controlled traffic while waiting for an animal-control officer to arrive.

The bobcat was eventually taken to Serrano Animal & Bird Hospital in Lake Forest for treatment.

McGuire, a patrol officer who joined the Laguna Beach Police Department 4½ years ago, got a call later in the week saying the bobcat had suffered head trauma and possible internal bleeding but was recovering.

On Friday, McGuire went to the animal hospital to check on the furry patient. He found that the cat was “definitely more defensive, more alert.”

“I was encouraged by what I saw,” he said.

In an area like Laguna Beach that has plentiful wildlife and roads alongside open spaces, humans and animals are bound to cross paths at times.

McGuire said he routinely logs 12-hour patrol shifts. “Being on the road for that long, you just kind of develop safe driving habits,” he said.

Maintaining a safe distance behind other vehicles, reducing distractions from radios, cellphones and other devices and paying close attention will help drivers react to road hazards quickly, he said.

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