Rabid Bobcat Put Down After Attack on Golfer, Horse

April 19, 2019 Updated: April 19, 2019

A rabid feline that allegedly attacked a golfer and horse in Connecticut was put down on April 18.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) confirmed around 8:00 a.m. local time that a bobcat had been spotted attacking a horse in the paddock of a rural property in Baltic, 43 miles southeast of Hartford.

The same bobcat was next seen about 8:30 a.m. at the nearby Mohegan Sun Golf Course jumping on the back of a male golfer aged in his late 60s, leaving scratch marks on his back and head. The man and his friend chased off the bobcat by hitting it nearly 12 times with golf clubs.

“The golfer was transported to Backus Hospital for treatment of lacerations. His condition is unknown,” the department said in a public statement. “The horse received lacerations to the neck and eye and is currently being treated by a veterinarian for its injuries.”

Course General Manager Philip Krick Jr. told The Day of New London that four golfers were near a fairway bunker on the seventh hole when the cat was believed to have jumped on the man’s back, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

He declined to identify the golfers and said they were shaken and “will be all right.”

Bobcats are common in Connecticut and found in most towns throughout the state. They are secretive, solitary, and seldom observed, so attacks on humans are extremely rare.

“Compared to many wildlife species, bobcats rarely cause conflicts with human activities and rarely contract rabies,” the department said.

However, if a bobcat becomes sick or rabid, it can become aggressive and attack humans. That risk of rabies prompted DEEP Environmental Conservation Police to track down the cat to a culvert where it was shot dead.

“The [dead] bobcat was transported to the University of Connecticut Medical Lab for testing,” the department said.

DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen confirmed the results of that test showed the bobcat carcass tested positive for rabies, saying the golfer and horse’s owner have been notified.

Another bobcat attack was reported back in August, 2014 at Bozrah, 34 miles southeast of Hartford. That animal was found to test positive for rabies, according to AP.

“DEEP recommends that if you encounter a bobcat, you should keep your distance, make noise and back away from the animal,” the department said.