State says it can't budge on lynx permit for war veteran

State says it can't budge on lynx permit for war veteran »Play Video
Patrick Clark and his pet lynx, Sosha.

SALEM, Ore. -- State veterinarian Brad LeaMaster says he's between a rock and a hard place.

On one hand he understands the bond between Patrick Clark and his pet lynx, Sosha, of 16 years.

"I am a veterinarian. That tugs at my heart strings hugely," LeaMaster said.

On the other hand, LeaMaster says he'd be breaking the law if he granted Clark a permit to keep the lynx.

"I can't just make up a law. I have to follow the rules," he said.

Clark says the lynx was completely legal to own when he first bought her all those years ago, but that in 2009 lawmakers changed the rules. The lynx helps ease Clark's post-traumatic stress disorder.

LeaMaster says lawmakers were very explicit when they crafted the change, only allowing for a one-year grace period to get a new permit, and not allowing any exceptions after that.

That's not the answer Clark is looking for.

He's had offers from complete strangers willing to pay his fines if he tries to keep the lynx.

He's even gotten calls from cat sanctuaries willing to give her a new home, but he fears the 16-year-old lynx wouldn't survive the move.

"It's a suicide mission to send her somewhere else. I don't want her to die somewhere else, especially when I can't be with her when she is going to pass away," Clark said.