US

Man Who Fought Off Rabid Bobcat Recounts Terrifying Attack

By Zachary Stieber

A man who was attacked at a Connecticut country club recounted the unusual ordeal in which he had to fight off a rabid bobcat.

The incident took place at the Mohegan Sun Country Club in Baltic in mid-April.

Michael Popkowski said that he was at the club golfing with friends and was alerted by one of them just moments before the attack, giving him time to turn his back to the bobcat as it pounced.

“Honestly I didn’t feel pain during the attack… I think, I don’t know I’m not a scientist, but I think your adrenaline or whatever takes over, I honestly didn’t feel anything,” he told Fox 61.

Popkowski said that he ultimately fought off the bobcat but ended up with lacerations on his scalp and puncture wounds where the animal had bitten him halfway up his arm.

The attack lasted two to three minutes, he said.

“He’s scratching me, biting me he’s on my back. It came out of nowhere of course, it’s totally unexpected,” he told WFSB. “It’s startling it happened so quickly, I honestly don’t even remember how long the attack took place.”

The 70-year-old said that the attack would not be stopping him from golfing, adding that he planned to get back out on the course.

“It’s good to be in one piece,” he told the Providence Journal. “It was a nasty experience.”

He said his friend helped him fight off the bobcat.

“For whatever reason, it let go and rolled over into a sandtrap. John got some good shots on it then,” he said. The bobcat then ran off.

Philip Krick Jr., vice president and general manager of the club at 7 Dows Lane in Baltic, told The Day that Popkowski hit the bobcat with a golf club nearly a dozen times to fend it off, according to what they told him.

Wildlife biologist Geoff Krukar told Fox 61 that such attacks are rare.

“Bobcats in general are not known for being aggressive towards humans…you know bobcats, unless they have rabies it’s not going to attack people. They aren’t looking at humans as a food source,” he said.

He said that the best way to defend yourself is to cover your face and neck. He also said that, if possible, people should track the animal so an expert can test it for rabies.

Popowski is undergoing treatment for exposure to rabies.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Environmental Conservation Police said that officers successfully tracked the bobcat, which had also attacked a horse, and “humanely euthanized” the animal.

Lab results showed the bobcat had rabies.

The horse was also being treated for lacerations and was up to date with its vaccinations.

The agency said that the last reported bobcat attack in the area was in 2014. That bobcat also tested positive for rabies. “Bobcats are shy, secretive animals; attacks on humans are extremely rare,” the department stated.

Loree Osowski, the horse owner, said that she witnessed the attack.

“I got nervous and I just wanted to protect my animal and I ran after it with a shovel and threw the shovel and screamed at it then I went under my horse trailer and then I didn’t know what to do but go in and call someone so I called 911,” Osowski told WFSB. She said that the horse fought back.

“I think she was kicking at it because when it came out of the area where the horses are in, it was limping a lot,” Osowski said. “She’s had about 16 stitches and an ordeal. Her eye is okay.”