National News

Man speaks about being attacked by rabid bobcat

Posted July 18

— An Anthem man is recovering after he was bitten by a rabid bobcat on Sunday. The wild encounter was recorded by a fellow bystander.

Steve Verschoor says he ended up battling the bobcat after he spotted it going after a dog being walked by its owner.

"I go running over there and just start pounding the cat with my fist cause I can't kick him cause I've got flip flops on," Verschoor said.

The whole thing took place right outside the Anthem Country Club gates Sunday morning.

"I grabbed his paw and that freed him from the dog and somehow he clipped onto me and that's when this strange thing you see in the video where I kind of flip him completely around and then down and pried his mouth open to get my thumb out," said Verschoor.

At that point, the bobcat scurried off. It would later be killed by a Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy and state lab test results confirmed Monday that the animal had rabies.

Verschoor suffered bites and scratches on his right hand and left arm.

"He bit me hard enough to break the nail in two, fracture the thumb, a main laceration here at the tip and then over here at the base and then over here it's just claw marks," he said.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department says what happened in Anthem is an isolated incident. They say it is very rare to see a rabid bobcat.

"Obviously, we don't want the community to be in panic mode," Game and Fish Wildlife Education Program Manager Mike Demlong said.

Verschoor said he's glad he stepped in on Sunday but he admits, he likely won't do that again.

"Now knowing that it was rabid and that explains the behavior, why he attacked the dog bigger than him, I would probably look for a stick or something not get my hand too close," he said.

He is now undergoing treatment for rabies, which has turned out to be a more challenging process than he anticipated.

"I did the initial shot in my arm, that was Sunday evening and now every four days, I have to find somewhere to get my next shot," he said. "I might be stuck having to go to the emergency room and paying that co-pay."

The Maricopa County Health Department says not many providers have the rabies vaccine on hand because it's expensive and so rarely used. Still, they said they will work with him to ensure he gets the shots he needs when he needs them.

The dog was up to date on its rabies vaccines but Game and Fish says it will need additional treatment and have to be quarantined at home.

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