Real Estate Pet Star

A rabid bobcat leapt on her face

2013-12-10T16:53:00Z 2013-12-11T17:36:24Z A rabid bobcat leapt on her faceDon Lehman -- dlehman@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
December 10, 2013 4:53 pm  • 

PUTNAM -- Cindy Bowman didn’t know what hit her.

She was letting her dog into her county Route 2 home around noon Thursday when a large animal pounced on her, latching onto her face and biting and scratching her.

She was able to fight it off by choking it, but not before it bit and/or scratched her head, shoulder, arms and thigh.

“I turned around and it was leaping right for my neck,” Bowman recalled. “It went for my throat.”

Bowman was mauled by a large bobcat, a cat that minutes later went after her daughter’s boyfriend, Nate Nadeau, and tried to attack him as well.

Nadeau shot and killed it, but state tests later found the cat had rabies, so both Bowman and Nadeau — who was not hurt but did have contact with the cat — had to get two weeks of rabies shots.

The incident has left Bowman shaken and afraid to go out of her house, and concerned that rabies is going to affect other bobcats in the area and make them aggressive as well.

She said it was clear to her the bobcat was trying to kill her. At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Bowman said it took all of her strength to get the feline off of her, and the animal left eight puncture wounds on her scalp.

“The DEC said if I didn’t turn around it would have jumped on my back and it could have killed me,” Bowman said.

It had apparently been under her home’s porch before it went after her.

DEC spokesman David Winchell said bobcat attacks are extremely rare, and no one in the DEC with whom he spoke could recall another bobcat attack of a person. Bobcats typically avoid human contact whenever possible, he said.

“It wasn’t surprising to learn it was rabid because it was so nontypical of a bobcat,” he said.

Bobcats are native to the Adirondacks and the population in New York is considered “stable,” according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Patricia Hunt, Washington County’s director of public health, said the attack was the first of a person by a bobcat in the county that she was aware of. She confirmed the bobcat was tested and found to be rabid, but could not discuss rabies treatment because of medical privacy rules.

She said raccoons and skunks are commonly affected by rabies, and rabies numbers in Washington County have been about average compared to recent years.

Bowman, 49, said the bobcat that attacked her was believed to be one of two that had been seen together in the Putnam Station area in the days before the attack. She won’t let her kids or grandchild play outside for the time being

She said her biggest concern is for children in the area who wait around for the schoolbus, because another rabid bobcat could be nearby.

She said she asked Putnam school officials to send a letter home to parents warning them of the encounter.

“I’m scared to death for the kids,” she said.

But school Superintendent Matthew Boucher said the district did not believe it should become involved in the situation because it did not have confirmation of what happened.

Hunt said people who see wild animals acting strangely or who spot nocturnal animals during the day should steer clear of them because of the possibility they’re infected with rabies.

“In general, rabid animals can be quite aggressive,” Hunt said.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. hammer54
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    hammer54 - December 17, 2013 12:51 am
    I've got one in my area of Whitehall on CR12, seems healthy, at least when last seen a month or so ago. Seen it 4 or 4 times over a couple years. I haven't had a rifle in hand when I've seen it, yet.
  2. lpavelko
    Report Abuse
    lpavelko - December 12, 2013 8:02 am
    You don't need livestock - she had a dog, and that can be enough to attract a bobcat. When I was a kid, I saw a bobcat jump the fence into a neighbor's yard and kill their poodle. I don't know if that bobcat was rabid, but if they're hungry, they'll go after any prey they think they can take down.
  3. Mrforumman
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    Mrforumman - December 11, 2013 4:12 pm
    Tree farmer, I'd hope in a situation like that, they would use as many rounds as it took.
  4. TreeFarmer
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    TreeFarmer - December 11, 2013 12:07 pm
    I hope the gun used to shoot the bobcat did not have a clip that would hold seven bullets or more. "No one needs ten bullets to kill a bobcat!"
  5. smits
    Report Abuse
    smits - December 11, 2013 11:11 am
    Predators such as bobcats usually are attracted by livestock of some kind. Does this woman keep animals within a close proximity of her home? If so, she better rethink her placement of said animals to protect her & her children. Remember ole yeller!
  6. Mrforumman
    Report Abuse
    Mrforumman - December 11, 2013 7:51 am
    It's a good thing there was a firearm handy, who knows what could have happened. Maybe some downstate liberals should read this.
  7. Sherry12887
    Report Abuse
    Sherry12887 - December 10, 2013 5:42 pm
    I have had to go through the rabies shot process. The shots themselves are not that bad and are given in the hip. You get them every other day at the hospital the 2 times a week then once a week and then every other week. They make you feel like hell in a handbasket. And it takes years tofeel lime your old self. The generic kind that is and that is what the department of health pays for. Medical personel often get the name brand and I hear that is much easier on your body. Our entire family had to go through it about 12 years ago when they suspected one of our cows might have been exposed to rabies. I think the trip to the hospital constantly for the shots was the worst part of it.

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