Lynxie the bobcat lived in office with cat toys and giant litter box, police say

  • A bobcat named “Lynxie” was found living in an office in Orland Park. Orland Park Police—TNS

Daily Southtown/Chicago
Tuesday, March 06, 2018

A bobcat named “Lynxie” lived, surrounded by cat toys, with a convicted felon in an industrial park office in suburban Chicago until Feb. 28, officials said.

That is when police arrested Philip Giese and seized the bobcat after receiving a tip that Geise had guns in the office in the 7000 block of West 157th Street in Orland Park, Ill., officials said. Lynxie was found in a 6-by-6-foot room, according to Cmdr. Tony Farrell, of the Orland Park police.

“There were no signs that (the owner or owners) were abusing the cat in any way,” Farrell said Monday. “But I’m sure there are better places for a bobcat to be than inside of an office in an industrial park.”

Officers arrested Giese, 41, after finding two loaded handguns along with 100 rounds of ammunition, according to reports. Drug paraphernalia also was seized in the search along with suspected narcotics that were sent to a crime lab for identification, police said.

Giese was charged with two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, officials said. He also was cited for alleged possession of a wild animal.

It is unclear if Giese was the sole owner of the animal and how long they both lived in the facility, police said.

Giese’s bond was set Thursday at $25,000, and his next court hearing is scheduled for March 28 in Bridgeview, police said.

The animal was taken by Illinois Department of Natural Resources officers and is being cared for while investigators determine the owner of the large cat that appears to have been declawed.

In their tip, police said they were first told the animal was a traditional domestic cat named Simba — a reference to the character in Disney’s “The Lion King.”

Farrell said he thinks the phony name may have been meant to disguise the bobcat as a common house cat.

Lynxie was found with several cat toys, and it appears the animal was allowed to roam the storefront, police said. A large litter box was found outside the office along with a carpeted climbing tree for cats, Farrell said.

“It is a Bears fan,” quipped Farrell, referencing a Chicago Bears toy that was found beside Lynxie. He did not know the animal’s gender.

Farrell also said police had previously cited Giese for illegally living in the storefront. It appeared that the space was initially intended to be an auto body shop, officials said. But there also was some gym equipment inside. Giese most likely was sleeping on a couch behind the reception area, according to police.

In the past, the storefront had been home to a rental business that provided party supplies, large tools and equipment, neighboring business owners said. Police were made aware of Giese’s activities on the property in December by others with offices nearby, Farrell said.

It’s uncommon but not illegal to own a bobcat in Illinois, according to Jennifer Kuroda, of the Illinois Bobcat Foundation.

Kuroda launched the Lake Forest-based foundation to oppose legislation passed last year that legalized bobcat hunting in Illinois.

Kuroda said a quick Google search can find bobcat breeders who sell kittens for about $1,700 each. Such sales are legal in Montana and elsewhere. In Illinois, an individual with a special permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture can own a bobcat.

Giese did not have such a permit, according to Farrell.

“I don’t know that I would recommend (bobcats) in your home,” said Kuroda, noting that the animals can be quite destructive compared to traditional house cats.

She specifically pointed to Boris, a bobcat now living at the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest, Ill. He was originally purchased by a couple who had a circus routine with several dogs. After a year, they decided they could no longer keep the bobcat as part of their act.

Boris now lives at the sanctuary and is larger than most wild bobcats. Kuroda hopes for a similar life ahead for Lynxie, as bobcats that come in contact with humans at a young age are unable to survive in the wild.

The IDNR would not respond to a request for more information about the bobcat found in Orland Park.

But Farrell said he is unaware of any plans to euthanize the animal and believes Lynxie will eventually wind up in some type of sanctuary.

“It is in the hands of professionals right now. They are taking care of it,” he said.

Meanwhile, some workers in the industrial park said they had no idea that a bobcat was living there. Most workers said the business was fairly nondescript.

News of the arrest, weapons and bobcat came as a shock as Jennifer Tudor, an owner of JL & Co. Hair Industries, as she took a break from cutting hair.

“A bobcat, that’s certainly weird,” she said.


(The Daily Southtown is a publication of the Chicago Tribune.)


(c)2018 Chicago Tribune

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


PHOTO (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194):