Bobcat Betty won’t be returning to her habitat, as many hoped, after being struck by a car in Gorham last month.

She was euthanized last week at the Saco River Wildlife Center in Limington, where she had been receiving care. Despite its best efforts to rehabilitate her, the center determined that extensive damage to one leg would require it to be amputated, precluding the possibility of releasing her back into the wild.

Gorham Police Sgt. Ted Hatch found Betty at an accident scene March 9 on Fort Hill Road barely clinging to life. Maine Game Warden Peter Herring and Gorham Animal Control Officer Scott Nystrom agreed with Hatch that the female bobcat deserved a chance to live. She was taken to the wildlife center for veterinary treatment and rehab.

Hatch, after hearing of Betty’s death, said that everyone involved had been hoping for a positive outcome. “I’m just discouraged,” Hatch said Tuesday, but “we don’t want an animal to suffer.”

The bobcat had sustained a fractured leg bone and pelvis along with lung contusions and was anemic, the wildlife center said. She also suffered nerve damage in one leg. The injuries proved insurmountable.

“It is with the heaviest hearts that the Saco River Wildlife Center shares some difficult news regarding our beloved bobcat patient, Betty,” the center announced online. “Despite our tireless efforts and unwavering dedication to her care, we had to make the heart-wrenching decision to set her free from the pain she was enduring.”


The center consulted with several “knowledgeable and prominent wildlife veterinarians nationwide” regarding her nerve damage. The consensus was that she would ultimately need to have the leg  amputated.

“Unfortunately, this would decrease her success in the wild as her abilities to hunt, climb, protect herself and navigate through the snow would be severely compromised. Ultimately, this amputation would then make her unfit for release back into the wild.”

The decision to put Betty down was not taken lightly, the center said. “As a team of compassionate individuals, our ultimate goal is always to release our patients back into their natural habitat. We explored every possible avenue, including the option of her becoming a wildlife ambassador. However, after careful consideration and discussions with our board of directors, it became clear that her overwhelming fear and discomfort around humans during her time with us were undeniable and a life within captivity would not have been fair for her. This was a unanimous decision.”

The center’s announcement of Betty’s death drew more than 200 comments and 108 shares on social media. Hatch said the police department also received positive public feedback about Betty’s story.

He said he appreciated the wildlife center’s time and effort.

“All we went through,” he said.

Comments are not available on this story.