A teenage boy was injured Wednesday evening in Stow, Maine, after a bobcat appeared in his family’s yard and attacked him and his father.
According to the Sun Journal, a Maine-based publication, Carolynn Plowden and her 17-year-old son, Justin, first saw the bobcat crossing a road near their home at around 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday. The animal was then spotted in the yard about 10 minutes later, and as it didn’t seem to be intimidated by the loud barking of the Plowden family’s dogs, Carolynn concluded that the animal “was not right in the head.”
“It just did weird things like [jumping] up on a folded-up tarp and biting it,” Carolynn Plowden told the Sun Journal.
“It tried to walk up the steps of the porch, then walked over to the barn, and [while] in the barn, [it] kind of rolled around and purred.”
After Carolynn’s husband, John, and their son took a closer look at the animal to make sure it wasn’t a lynx, which is a protected animal per state laws, the teenager stayed behind while his father called the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to ask permission to shoot the bobcat. That was when it attacked Justin from about 20 feet away, taking three leaps and, as Carolynn recalled, “launching itself” at her son’s face and biting his cheek.
“All of a sudden it latched up. I don’t remember much,” Justin recalled, in an interview with NBC affiliate KCBD.
“I just remember my dad pulling it off of my cheek.”
Justin’s back and shoulder were also wounded in the bobcat attack as his father tried to pull the 25-pound animal off. The bobcat then turned its attention to John Plowden, scratching him in several places in his arm. Both father and son were treated with rabies shots later that Wednesday night, with Justin receiving four shots in the face for the multiple wounds he had suffered.
Meanwhile, the bobcat ran off after a neighbor tried to scare it away by firing a gun at it. The animal was nowhere to be found when an Oxford County police officer and a game warden arrived on the scene, but the Sun Journal noted that the “aggressive” cat might have been sighted on Thursday morning in the neighboring town of Lovell, where it injured a woman’s dog, but did not attack any humans.
According to Desert USA, it is rare for bobcats to attack humans, but when they do, it is usually because the animal is “sick or rabid.” Generally seen as predators and “bold raiders,” these wildcats often prey on pets and livestock if unable to hunt for food in the wild. The article also advises anyone attacked by a bobcat to immediately seek medical assistance, and to have authorities check if the animal was carrying rabies or other diseases, should it get killed during the attack.
Both the Sun Journal and KCBD reported that Maine Warden Service authorities are still searching for the bobcat responsible for Wednesday night’s attack.