Search for Arnold woman’s missing bobcat grows more desperate

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ARNOLD, Mo. - While many in Jefferson County are on the lookout for a runaway pet bobcat, the Missouri Department of Conservation has launched its own investigation.

A few weeks ago, Artimus, a 6-year-old bobcat, ran out the door of its owner's home in the area of Highway 21 and 141.

It is legal to keep a bobcat as a pet in Missouri. The Missouri Department of Conservation wants proof that the owners got the bobcat legally.

"Our agents are looking into the situation," said Dan Zarlenga, a spokesperson with the Department of Conservation. "They would have to obtain the animal from a licensed breeder and then, of course, they'd have to have appropriate Missouri permit to hold a confined wildlife.”

The appropriate paperwork includes a Class I or Class II Wildlife Breeders Permit or a Wildlife Hobby Permit, as well as proper documentation that the animal came from a licensed breeder.

While the investigation is ongoing, the search for Artimus, who is declawed, is growing more desperate each day.

"A captive animal like that would not survive in the area," said Zarlenga. "Not having claws would limit its ability to hunt, to protect itself, to escape a predator."

Someone posted a surveillance photo thinking they spotted Artimus in Valley Park. According to a group searching for her, "Saving St. Louis Pets," it is not Artimus because her tail is much shorter—just 4 inches in length—than the tail of the pictured animal.

The department of conservation agrees the animal pictured could be any bobcat.

"We have to understand that bobcats are very common in the state, so just because you see a bobcat doesn't mean it’s this bobcat," said Zarlenga.

Zarlenga warns that that if you see a bobcat and think it’s Artimus, do not try to catch her or corner her yourself. You're asked to contact the Arnold Police Department, Missouri Department of Conservation, or the group "Saving St. Louis Pets" on Facebook.