An 80-year-old woman in Sunapee, New Hampshire, was only trimming roses in the garden on a Sunday night when she was mauled by a rabid bobcat.
Using her sickle for gardening and some help from her dogs to fend the animal off, Elsie Dabrowski revisited that night and how she needed 50 to 60 stitches on her whole body.
Rabid Bobcat Mauling
Dabrowski was hacking weeds using her gardening tool when the bobcat appeared and pounced on her, sinking its teeth into her face.
“All I could think of is ‘why is he doing this, why is this stupid cat attacking me?’” she said in a CBS Boston report.
Fortunately, Dabrowski had her sickle to turn to, and her five dogs came to her rescue. The bobcat just kept scratching and biting her until the dogs chased it off, she added.
After the bobcat had ripped into the old woman in five spots and created wounds that later on took 60 stitches to close, Dabrowski’s adult son heard the screams from his nearby yard. He came down with a shotgun in hand and aimed at the animal.
Officials from the Fish and Game Department took the bobcat’s body for testing, with state laboratory results confirming Monday, June 26, that the creature had rabies. Animals displaying aggressive behaviors are likely candidates for rabies, warned department chief Mark Ellingwood.
How To Stay Safe From A Bobcat Attack
Dabrowski revealed having to get 60 stitches after the attack but still felt fortunate.
“It could have got my eye, could have got my jugular ... Could have got anything, you know,” said the victim, who, along with her son and dogs, has gotten rabies shots.
The bobcat, with its face chock-full of porcupine quills when it attacked her, was probably seeking a meal with her chickens, noted Dabrowski, who already closely encountered moose, bears, and other animals on her property.
According to state wildlife authorities, hers was the first case of a rabid bobcat confirmed in the state since 2013. Since 1989, however, the animal’s population has steadily grown in the area when officials outlawed their hunting.
Desert USA described bobcats as a “consummate predator and a bold raider” and warned that they can become a nuisance needing to be controlled. Their nighttime screams could frighten people, and they themselves can pose a serious threat if rabid.
It’s important to minimize encounters with the animal and keep as much distance from it should an encounter happen. Immediately protect children and pets and back away slowly without running — doing so could trigger a pursuit response. Spray the animal with water and make plenty of noise, such as banging pans, if possible.
Bobcats attacking humans is deemed rare and likely happens only when it is sick or rabid. If an attack already happened, seek medical attention right away. If the animal is killed, have the authorities examine its carcass to detect disease.
Back in 2007, a 62-year-old Florida man went with his instinct and survived a bobcat attack by choking it to death.