Thursday, July 19, 2018
News Roundup

Man says bobcat attacked him in Tampa’s Skypoint condos

TAMPA — High atop the concrete jungle of downtown Tampa, in the confines of a posh condominium, a bobcat raged.

On May 17, the animal lashed out at visiting contractor Marcos Hernandez, leaving him seriously injured.

That’s according to a lawsuit that Hernandez filed last month against Christine Lee, the owner of the bobcat, according to a civil complaint. Hernandez is seeking unspecified damages.

The attack is alleged to have occurred in Unit 1814 of the Skypoint building, the 36-story high-rise at 777 N Ashley Drive in downtown Tampa. Lee lives there and had custody and control of the bobcat on the date in question, the complaint states.

The Tampa Police Department responded to multiple calls about 12:15 p.m. that day. The incident did not generate a police report, but dispatch call notes indicate that Hernandez entered the condo to conduct an inspection. The notes say he was attacked by "a cat," which scratched his arms and made them bleed.

His co-workers took him to Tampa General Hospital, police noted.

His complaint states he did nothing to provoke the creature into attacking him. It accuses Lee of being negligent.

She "violated her duty to take reasonable precautions to guard or protect others from the viciousness and danger of her bobcat," according to the complaint, "and failed to warn others about the vicious and dangerous propensities of such animals."

Lee declined to speak with a reporter when reached via phone Thursday.

"I have no idea as far as a lawsuit," she said. "I don’t know what you’re talking about."

The Skypoint Condominium Association is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. The complaint accuses them of allowing a "wild and dangerous" animal on the premises.

Jeff Zampitella, the president of the condo association, could not immediately be reached for comment.

State law allows people to possess certain exotic animals, including bobcats, provided that the owner obtains a permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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