PHOTOS: Savage Bobcat bites two people in Wilder and White River Junction before being shot dead by warden
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - An extremely aggressive bobcat bit a woman on her porch around 10 a.m. Wednesday morning on Candlelight Terrace in Wilder and then bit another person on the outskirts of downtown White River Junction just before noon on Prospect Street, right beside the Connecticut River.
Police and game wardens were already scouring wooded areas around Wilder when the reports of the second attack came in to dispatchers.
Hartford police cruisers and a pack of Fish & Game pickup trucks came screaming down Routes 5 and Maple Street to a parking lot right next to the railroad tracks where the large animal was spotted hiding underneath a silver pickup truck which was parked next to Christian Roy's hair salon.
The first game warden to arrive retrieved a shotgun from his pickup truck and then began to advance cautiously up to the line of vehicles looking for the animal when it suddenly charged out toward him, closing the roughly 30 foot gap at a frightening clip. The warden fired six shotgun blasts at the animal in rapid succession, finally dropping it after it had covered the equivalent of at least four parking spaces.
After using a pole to lift the bloody bobcat into the back of the pickup truck for a closer look, the group of game wardens noticed that the animal was still moving and took it back over to the edge of the parking lot where it was dispatched with another final shot.
The bobcat kicked up a cloud of dust as it charged out from under the truck
The topmost large bloodstain shows where the animal was finally stopped after it made it nearly across the lot
Hartford Police Sgt. Karl Ebbighausen said the woman who was attacked on her porch in Wilder was transported by ambulance to the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center with "fairly serious injuries to her lower extremities."
"We did a search and then Fish & Game came down and saturated the area," Ebbighausen said.
Vermont Fish & Game Lt. Dennis Amsden said his officers always respond to instances of animals biting people although he noted "having a bobcat attack somebody is certainly unusual and in this case we had two different scenes in a very short period time."
Asked the obvious question as to whether the bobcat might be rabid, Lt. Amsden replied, "There are a lot of things that can cause an animal to act aggressively or in a strange manner but these attacks seem to be unprovoked so it’s certainly a possibility that it could be rabid."
Amsden said the approximately 20-pound bobcat's remains were being driven right up to a state lab in Colchester for examination for a rabies test.
"I think we'll probably know later today," whether or not it was infected, Amsden said, noting that even though the more typical rabies "vector" animals, skunks and raccoons, are dormant in the winter rabies is still a year-round phenomena in Vermont.
The lieutenant also said it was not a real surprise to see a bobcat in the White River area.
"They’re more common than we realize," he said. "They do a good job, like a lot of wildlife, of staying out of sight but there’s a lot more out there than we see. To have one pass through here would not be unusual but to come in here and to target somebody would be very unusual. Obviously it wasn’t behaving as it normally would."
Police cordoned off the parking lot outside of Christian Roy's salon for nearly two hours as they documented the scene largely because the shots were fired near so many parked vehicles, although a cursory survey did not turn up any damage to the dozen or so cars that were nearby.
"We want to make sure we cover all our bases, that’s all," Lt. Amsden said, adding that a warden was also dispatched to DHMC to interview both bite victims.
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