Santa Claws..bitten by bobcat

Biting bobcat and Santa
Biting bobcat and Santa

His white Santa gloves suddenly became red and Jonathan Bebbington says he's got the wounds to prove this was no ordinary kitty.

Jonathan Bebbington says "it hurt, it had a lot of power in its jaws."

The volunteer Santa Claus was repeatedly clawed and bitten by what he believes was a 30-pound bobcat.

Jonathan says "it was about that large, she was walking it around on a harness."

It's the pet. Yes, the pet of a woman who brought it to this Petsmart store in Mays Landing Sunday morning for photos with Old Saint Nick. Bebbington says the bobcat, like this one at the Cape May County Zoo, didn't become violent until it was on his lap.

Jonathan says "I never expected this while volunteering to do this."

Christine Tartaro of Penny Angels Beagle Rescue says "the person was saying how she paid 15-hundred dollars to have this animal shipped in from Wyoming."

The photo shoot benefitted Penny Angels Beagle Rescue. The woman is believed live in Egg Harbor Township, but she and the young bobcat split before anyone got her name.

Organizers want to find to her and get their hands on the creature's veterinary records.

Jonathans says "without the record of the shots, I have to go through a series of rabies shots which are very painful."

Just in case you were wondering, it's NOT LEGAL to have a bobcat as a pet in New Jersey. Violators could face a fine of up to 5-thousand dollars.

Vincent Sonetto of Cape May County Zoo says "any kind of wild animal is just not a good idea for a pet, regardless of how nice it is. Eventually, it can snap."

Jonathan says "if you're a pet owner, you have to be responsible."

Petsmart will be paying Jonathan Bebbington's medical bills. Meanwhile, authorities are working to track down the woman and her biting bobcat which left this Santa scarred for Christmas.