An 80-year-old New Hampshire woman was attacked by a rabid bobcat Sunday night and fended the animal off with a gardening tool and the help of her dogs.
Elsie Dabrowski was bitten on her face, arm and back after the animal ran at her while she was gardening outside her Sunapee home.
“I don’t even know where he came from,” Dabrowski said.
She said she wasn’t sure what was happening. One minute she was taking care of her roses, and the next, she was on the ground with a bobcat biting her.
“It’s still hard to believe,” she said. “This little thing just came and attacked me, but he was strong. He was really strong.”
Dabrowski said she began beating the animal with a sickle, but it wouldn’t let go. She said she had one thought while the attack was happening.
“Where are the dogs?” she said. “And they came. And they came, and they chased him off.”
The dogs chased the bobcat under a nearby shed. Dabrowski’s son, who lives nearby, heard the screams.
“He came down with the shotgun, and he shot it,” Dabrowski said.
Fish and Game Department officials took the bobcat’s body away, and the state lab confirmed Monday that it had rabies.
“Any mammal is vulnerable, and any animal that exhibits those aggressive behaviors is certainly a likely candidate for rabies,” said Mark Ellingwood, Fish and Game chief of wildlife.
Dabrowski said she got 50 stitches after the attack, but she knows she was lucky.
“You bet your life,” she said. “It could have got my eye. Could have got my jugular, the way he was biting. Could have got anything, you know? God is good.”
Dabrowski will have a series of rabies shots. After that, she said, she plans to have a few days of rest before returning to her yard.
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