COLCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has announced that the bobcat which attacked three people on Tuesday has tested positive for rabies.
DEEP Wildlife Officials say various strains of rabies are always present among mammals in the wild. They say the virus is carried by species such as raccoons, skunks, bats and others. DEEP says the presence of rabies among wild animals is at typical, low levels at this time.
Related Content: Three people in hospital after a bobcat attack in Colchester
Three women were sent to a local hospital for treatment after the bobcat jumped on one of them in a greenhouse on Waterhole Road in Colchester on Tuesday. When the bobcat attacked the woman, the other two were scratched while trying to help her. All three were taken to Marlborough Medical Center for evaluation and treatment of minor injuries.
Web Extra: 911 call reporting the bobcat attack in Colchester
The 911 call came from The Caring Community, a social service agency in Colchester where the women were part of a program.
Caller: Hi. We need an ambulance here we had someone here just get attacked by some sort of animal like a lynx or something.
The caller then told the dispatcher they were trying to keep others safe because the bobcat was still in the area.
Dispatcher: What kind of injuries does the person have?
Caller: I’m not sure. I’m trying to see.
Dispatcher: Is the person conscious, alert?
“For a bobcat to aggressively go after a person is very rare likely a rabid animal,” says Chris Vann, wildlife biologist with the DEEP which did later confirm the animal was rabid.
Local law enforcement and DEEP responded to the scene and shot and killed the bobcat. DEEP Wildlife Officials say it is rare for bobcats to pounce upon or be aggressive towards humans. They say most often rabies is the cause of those actions.
Even though the rabid bobcat is no longer a danger, Stacy Beck is worried about her kids who walk to a nearby bus stop.
“What if it was them that was attacked,” says Beck. “They’re not as big as an adult.
As neighborhoods like hers are built by forests people and wildlife will meet. The DEEP says if you see a bobcat or coyote get inside a house or car if you can. Otherwise make noise and make yourself large.
“Making the coyote feel nervous instead of the opposite,” says Vann.
You can also scare a bear by being loud from the safety of your house but if you are both outside be more cautious.
“Talk calmly, but turn around and go the other way,” says Vann.
Beck’s youngest son has his own plan.
“He said well I’ll just throw my backpack and then run,” says Beck. “I’m like then you will run to the nearest neighbor’s front door and make a ton of noise.”
The DEEP is reminding anyone who observes an animal exhibiting what they believe to be abnormal behavior to contact their local police department or animal control officer.