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TAMPA (CBSMiami/AP) — A man doing work inside a Tampa woman’s condo claims he was attacked by a ferocious feline he swears was a bobcat.
The condo owner, Christine Lee, says the cat was no predator, it was just her 10-pound long hair domestic cat named Calli.
But that hasn’t stopped the contractor, Marcos Hernandez, from suing her claiming Lee was illegally keeping a bobcat in her apartment.
In the suit, Hernandez claims the bobcat scratched him on May 16th, causing serious injuries after he entered the condo to conduct a fire safety inspection.
Hernandez was in the condo alone, Lee said, something that shouldn’t have happened. She said an employee from the building was supposed to accompany him inside.
“This has gotten so blown out of proportion, it’s ridiculous,” Lee said.
According to the lawsuit, Hernandez said he was attacked by an unleashed bobcat and suffered permanent injuries. He’s seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages. Hernandez said Lee had a duty to provide a safe environment and failed to warn him about the bobcat.
Lee said that’s nonsense. She only has a fluffy, tortoiseshell-colored housecat and a sleeker black cat named Max. She doesn’t know which cat may have scratched Hernandez, but Max’s color would likely rule him out.
She has not yet retained an attorney.
“I’m not denying he got scratched, what he was doing to get scratched, I don’t know,” she said, adding that when she arrived home that day, Calli was “cowering and scared.” Max was underneath her bed.
Calli, who is three and half years old, is friendly, Lee said. But “just like any animal, she is guarded. If they feel threatened, they may attack, scratch or bite.”
Soon after the incident, she was informed by building management that Hernandez had been scratched, but she hadn’t heard of the lawsuit until this week. Hernandez is also suing the condo building’s owner.
Lee said she’s never owned a bobcat.
“A bobcat does look much different than this. They’re much bigger than this 10-pound little thing,” she said. “It’s a litigious society and here we are.”
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, wild bobcats in the state are about twice the size of a domestic cat, up to about 35 pounds.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)