Gladstone City Council approves extension for lynx owner

Gladstone City Council approves extension for lynx owner »Play Video
Patrick Clark and his pet lynx, Sosha.

GLADSTONE, Ore. - Patrick Clark says he won’t give up the fight to keep his pet lynx, Sosha.

“She's my family,” says Clark. "I've had her forever, so she's like losing my kid or keeping my kid. That's what it boils down to.”

That's why Marine veteran Patrick Clark and supporters of his fight to keep Sosha came to Gladstone's city council Tuesday. The council voted 5-1 to allow more time for Clark to keep Sosha.

Clark faces losing his lynx after a neighbor's complaint under a Gladstone's city ordinance banning exotic pets. Clark missed a deadline grandfathering in such pets under new state regulations limiting who can keep them.

State Senator Alan Olsen's district includes Gladstone. He pressed the council to approve an extension so he could take the issue, in an amendment to a current bill, before Oregon's legislature next month.

“We now have a tool, an instrument, that can get us there,” Olsen told the council. “And I'm asking you if you'd allow us to get through the February session and get this bill through.”

But getting the state involved could work both ways. Remember the 2007 case of Snowball the deer? The state seized Snowball from a family in Molalla. Some worry that could happen in Sosha's case too.

The only city council member to vote against an extension understands the lynx calms Clark's PTSD.

“I appreciate his service that he's done for the country,” said council member Neal Reisner. “But at the same time, we've got other health - not health - but safety concerns that we have to take into account.”

Clark says, “The support's been incredible. To be honest, it's been overwhelming in a good way. There's been some critics out there, like I said, and I understand that too. I see both sides.

“It's not over but it's definitely going to the next level.”