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Elderly Woman Fights Off Attacking Bobcat (Photos)

| by Sarah Zimmerman

An 80-year-old woman required 60 stitches after fighting off a bobcat who attacked her while she was gardening on her 90-acre property. 

New Hampshire resident Elsie Dabrowski was out to lock up her chicken coop when she decided to grab a sickle and remove some of the weeds from her rose garden. While she was working, she was suddenly attacked by a feral bobcat, according to WBZ.

"I still can’t believe it happened," she said.

The animal pounced and sunk its teeth into Dabrowski's face. In a moment of quick thinking, she began fending off the bobcat with her sickle.

"All I could think of is: ‘Why is he doing this, why is this stupid cat attacking me?'" Dabrowski recalled.

Luckily, her five dogs were able to run over and chase the big cat away before it could do any more damage. However, the 80-year-old was still badly injured, with her face ripped in five places.

"He just kept scratching and biting and then the dogs came and chased him off," she said.

Her adult son, who lives in the neighborhood, heard the attack and ran out with a shotgun. As the bobcat was retreating, he took aim and fired, killing the animal instantly.   

According to WMUR, the animal's body was taken away by the Fish and Game Department. A test on the animal's body showed that it tested positive for rabies.

"Any mammal is vulnerable, and any animal that exhibits those aggressive behaviors is certainly a likely candidate for rabies," explained Mark Ellingwood, Fish and Game chief of wildlife.

Dabrowski required 60 stitches to close the wounds, according to WBZ. She, along with her dogs and her son, also received a rabies vaccine.

Nonetheless, she still considers herself extremely lucky.

"It could have got my eye, could have got my jugular could have got anything you know," she said. "I feel very, very fortunate." 

Dabrowski said she has encountered a variety of wildlife, including bears, moose and coyotes, but that the attack was the first time she has ever seen a bobcat. State wildlife experts say that the incident is the first rabid bobcat sighting confirmed in the state of New Hampshire since 2013.

Dabrowski said that she doesn't plan on dramatically changing her life because of the attack. She did note, however, that she will try to finish her chores before dark. 

If anything, she feels sorry for the bobcat, who had a face full of quills from an earlier encounter with a porcupine.

"The animal was sick and he was looking for an easy meal with the chickens so he came here," she said.

Sources: WBZ, WMUR / Photo credits: James Abbott/FlickrWBZ, WBZ via Daily Mail 

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