Siberian lynx attack is Buckhead owner’s latest “wildcat issue”

The residence where a Siberian lynx attacked a person Tuesday has had wildcat issues before but not of such a violent nature.

Atlanta police said a person was attacked at the Paces Valley Road address when coming to feed the animals.

Ten years ago, a lynx from the home escaped into the Buckhead neighborhood and it took a week before the owner could capture it.

The cat’s owner, Fred Boyajian, caught the animal a few houses away from where it had escaped after a tree had damaged its pen, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. That lynx, named Sasquatch, then looked dehydrated and malnourished, officials said in 2004.

DNR and Atlanta Police are investigating Tuesday’s incident to “make sure the cats are safe and that they are properly housed,” DNR’s Mark McKinnon told Channel 2 Action News.

“Owner is out of town and a person that was sent to feed the cat was bitten on the head,” Sgt. Greg Lyon told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Police had not released details on the victim or his or her condition as of Tuesday afternoon.

Neighbors of Boyajian said Tuesday that the 2004 escape was to their knowledge at least the second time that a cat had escaped from his property. One neighbor said there had been at least two instances where his animals had come onto their property.

The neighbors asked not to be identified because they didn’t want to jeopardize their relationships with Boyajian.

In 2004, Boyajian said he had raised lynxes for 35 years. According to DNR records, cats had escaped from his home at least twice but Boyajian captured the cats himself within hours. Boyajian said escapes were rare.

McKinnon said Boyajian is current with his wild animal breeding license and according to DNR records owns nine exotic cats — four Siberian lynx, one Canadian lynx, two servals and two caracals.

Only those with a breeder’s permit or an exhibitor’s permit are allowed under the law to have these animals.