We all know that wild critters—big, small and in-between—can be unpredictable. But when the deadly viral infection rabies is introduced in the mix, beware!
Couple Slams Rabid Coyote
Pennsylvania wildlife officials confirmed that a coyote shot after chasing a man into his house tested positive for rabies, the first confirmed case of the disease carried by a coyote in the Keystone State.
In a bizarre series of events, Craig Luckenbill said he heard one of his dogs barking outside his Sinking Springs, Penn. home and discovered it was fighting with a coyote on the patio.
He pulled his dog free and attempted to lead it to safety, but the aggressive coyote followed them in hot pursuit.
That’s when Luckenbill’s wife, who was observing the mayhem from inside the house, slammed the door on the coyote’s neck, preventing it from entering.
After fetching his 12-guage shotgun, Luckenbill said he shot and killed the coyote as it continued wildly biting the door and the front of the house.
“I’m a hunter but I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said after the incident.
Motorist Runs Over Coon, Coon Bites Motorist
Note to drivers: if you run over a raccoon, protocol doesn’t necessarily require you to stop and verify the condition of the animal or to remove it from the roadway if it is, in fact, deceased.
Just ask the Graham, North Carolina man who was subjected to an arduous and painful series of post-exposure rabies injections.
The man, who was not named in the Greensboro (NC) News-Record account of the incident, stopped after his vehicle hit a raccoon on N.C. Route 119 North in Mebane. Wearing heavy work gloves, the man reached down with the intent of moving the animal off the roadway, but instead was greeted by an enraged snarling and biting beast.
The man was subsequently treated at a local medical center and the carcass of the ‘coon tested positive for rabies.
It marked the second case of the mammal-borne disease in Alamance County, which led the Alamance County Health Department to issue an official warning that residents “should not approach or touch wild animals.”
To that suggestion, we might add: “Even if you think they’re roadkill.”
Hand-to-Claw With Bobcat
A 62-year-old Florida man knew his day was about to take a turn for the worse when he came face-to-face with a growling bobcat perched on his doorstep one morning. Within seconds after he first spotted it, the animal lunged at Dale Rippy, burying its claws in his legs and biting him repeatedly on his arms and stomach.
Unarmed and suddenly engaged in furious combat with a crazed adversary, the Vietnam veteran instinctively knew he had to take drastic measures—like killing the animal using only his bare hands.
“I was waiting for him to get in a good position so I could hold him,” the Wesley Chapel resident told the St. Petersburg Times.
Rippy gripped the flailing and struggling animal firmly around the neck, using both hands—holding tightly until its body turned totally lifeless.
“He went limp, and I’m standing there holding him by his neck,” he said. “I was bleeding everyplace.”
The 25-pound bobcat subsequently tested positive for rabies, and Rippy received a series of shots and was medicated to prevent infection from his wounds.
County officials praised Rippy for his quick thinking and decisive action.
“The man was definitely using his head when he did that,” said Denise Hilton, animal services manager for Pasco County Animal Control. “If he let the cat go, we could have had more victims.”
A recuperating Rippy said he simply did what he had to do.
“If that cat had attacked a child, it would’ve been really bad,” he said.
Yes, Bears Get Rabies, Too
A western Maryland family survived a harrowing experience with an overly aggressive black bear, after the bruin charged their house and tried to get inside.
The animal was later diagnosed with rabies, making it the first bear to test positive for the disease in state history.
Homeowners Mike and Charlotte Stanton of Grantsville heard a commotion outside and saw a bear attempting to get into their goat pen. When they yelled at the bear from the doorway, it wheeled around and charged the house.
“At first it was pushing on the door and I was holding onto the handle from inside,” Ms. Stanton told the Cumberland Times-News. “Mike was going to the gun room to get a gun.”
Then the bear left the door and attempted to pull an air-conditioning unit out of a window.
“I was pulling from inside and the bear was pulling on it from outside when Mike got there with the gun,” she said. “There was just enough room to stick out the gun barrel beside the air conditioner, but you couldn’t aim it. He just stuck (his shotgun) out there and shot and it flattened the bear.”
Stanton’s blast with No. 4 shot severely wounded the bear, which was later tracked and killed by a Natural Resources Police officer responding to the family’s 911 call.
Stanton family members who handled the bear’s carcass and cleaned up blood after the incident were all required to undergo follow-up rabies treatment.
In retrospect, the Stantons were just grateful that neither they nor their two young children were outside when the bear charged their home.
“It’s a good thing none of us were in the yard or you’d have dead people up here,” Mrs. Stanton said.