Rabid Bobcat Attack Is Cause For Caution

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Editor:

Thursday evening, I heard something walking across my roof. Raccoons have scooted across my roof many times, but these footsteps sounded as if they were made by a heavier animal, and they were slower.

My dog Liki heard them, too, and she was going crazy barking and running to the door, asking to get out. If she hears something, I never let her out at night without turning on all my outside lights and investigating to see or hear what is there. This night, I am very glad I investigated, and did not let her out.

I have become accustomed to her barks, and she lets me know if it is someone who is familiar, or something that is not. By her barking and actions, I realized it was something very unusual, so I kept her in, and I am thankful now that I used caution.

Friday morning I learned that my neighbors had let their three retrievers out early in the morning. The dogs were investigating something under the deck of the house, and they were attacked by a bobcat. My neighbors' youngest pet received a vicious mauling. When Jan and Harry Parsons ran out to protect their pets, the bobcat jumped on Jan and it tore at her shoulder. She managed to grab the cat, which weighed about 20 pounds, by the scruff of its neck and one back leg. She threw it on the ground, then it attacked Harry, biting him. They managed to get away and phoned for help. The cat disappeared under the deck again where it was found and shot by the (Game and Fish officials). It was sent to Phoenix for testing and it was found to be rabid. The Parsons spent the morning at the hospital getting their wounds tended to and receiving shots to protect them against rabies. Their dog had to undergo surgery at the vet's, and although it had already had its rabies shots, it was given another, just for added protection.

My cat is an inside cat, but now Liki is an inside dog, too, except for short visits outside during the day, when I wait outside to watch her.

This is the first case of rabies in Payson that I have heard about, but I am not taking any chances, and will continue to be careful of letting her out. I do not know how many other animals may have been bitten by this bobcat, and I do not know what the incubation period is for rabies, but I would not want to go through what the Parsons have had to deal with. My heart and sympathy go out to them, and I hope they and their dog have no lasting problems from this horrible ordeal. I think it is very important for everyone to have their pets vaccinated against rabies, and that they not be allowed to roam freely. We surely do not want to start this terrible disease here in Payson.

Kay Loftfield

Payson

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