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Drunken man set zoo bobcat free after trying to play fetch with it, police say

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WATCH: What you need to know if you see a wild bobcat in your yard – Feb 2, 2017

Bobcats, like house cats, don’t play fetch.

A drunk man learned that lesson the hard way in Chattanooga, Tenn., last month, when he broke into a bobcat enclosure at the zoo and allowed one of the cats to escape during a failed game of fetch, according to police.

Cayden Melia, 21, told police he used a rock to break into the enclosure at Chattanooga’s Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center, according to an affidavit. Melia said he tried to get the bobcat, named Evi, to play fetch with a ball, but Evi ignored him and escaped her cage.

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Curious bobcats caught peeking into B.C. home – Aug 16, 2017

Reflection Riding says there were two suspects involved in the June 10 break-in, based on the facility’s security footage.

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Authorities and park employees spent a week searching for the wayward animal. The bobcat came back on her own on June 17 and looked noticeably thinner than when she left, the nature centre said.

Police linked the escape to Melia and confronted him at his home, the Times Free Press reports.

Reflection Riding says Evi is habituated to humans and was never a threat to the public.

“Evi has been hiding out in her cave after unexpectedly having a week in the wild,” the centre said.

Melia was issued a citation for criminal trespassing and vandalism. He must turn himself over to a county jail by July 14.

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With files from The Associated Press

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