WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — A 62-year-old Florida man depended on his instincts when a bobcat attacked him, and it paid off — he survived, the bobcat didn't.
Dale Rippy, a resident of Wesley Chapel, Florida, was pulling trashcans back to his house May 30 when he saw what he thought was a large cat. After realizing the animal was actually a bobcat, he set the trashcans down and prepared for an attack.
Having grown up on a farm, Rippy said he knew the bobcat would attack when it didn’t run away after seeing him.
“When it growled, I knew it was going to jump and bite me,” he said.
The animal then jumped on him and began to scratch and bite. Rippy said he knew if he could get a good hold on the animal, he would be able to choke it, even if that meant letting the bobcat take a couple of bites.
“I started choking it when got a good hold,” he said. “I choked it ‘til he died. I got scratched up pretty good.”
Rippy never had to go to the hospital, but was examined at a doctor’s office due to puncture wounds on his stomach and scratches.
After the attack, his neighbor called the police, who then called animal control. After the animal was inspected, it was found to be infected with rabies.
Rippy said now, he and his neighbor that helped him after the attack have to have rabies shots.
“It attacked me because it was sick,” he said.
Rippy said he has lived in his home 25 miles north of Tampa for 13 years and, although he has seen a panther and other animals in the wooded area behind his house, that was the first time he had ever seen a bobcat.
He also said those around him were very surprised about the attack and how he saved himself by killing the animal.
“The bobcat was big enough that it could have really hurt somebody, especially since it had rabies,” he said.