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'This is not hunting. This is flat out cruelty': Bobcat shot in eye with dart now recovering at wildlife center

The bobcat, now named Miracle, was shot in the eye with a five-inch blow dart. She now needs another surgery because her vision is obstructed.

Valeri Marler has been taking in bobcats for 14 years at Crosstimbers Wildlife Center in Terrell. 

Altogether, she currently has 46 bobcats housed at the center. In some cases, the cats were once owned and raised by families that later abandoned them. 

But the call she received from Frisco just before Christmas was a first. A resident said a young bobcat on her property had a blow dart stuck in its eye.

"The dart was sticking out enough that every time she moved it was catching on all these cedar branches," said Marler.

With the help of a team the bobcat, now named Miracle, was caught using a fishnet.  A doctor was able to carefully remove the dart from Miracle's eye.

"I don't think she would have lasted through the night," said Marler.

For the first time, after surgery on Wednesday, Miracle was released into an enclosure at Cross Timbers Wildlife Center. Miracle shares a pen with several kittens her same age.

She is very timid and understandably distant. The dart they removed from her eye was five inches long according to Marler. Frisco police tells WFAA they are actively working to find who did this.

"This is not hunting. This is flat out cruelty. These are lives and these are important lives. They control the rat population, the rodent population, and the rabbit population," said Marler.

Valeri says through donations her group is offering a $1,250 reward for information leading to an arrest. She says Miracle's sibling was also shot with a dart but they can't find her.

Miracle will need another surgery. One eyeball is partially obstructed. 

"Right now her peripheral vision...shes able to see out to the side but she's not able to see forward," said Marler.

And after that surgery, she will be released back in Frisco to the same area she was found. Marler is hopeful Miracle will reconnect with her clan in the area.

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