Rabid bobcat attacks Pinal County man, dog

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MAMMOTH, Ariz. -- The Pinal County Public Health Services District is issuing a rabies advisory after a man in Mammoth, Ariz., was attacked by a rabid bobcat outside his home.

The unidentified man was attacked Tuesday while he was in his yard. The bobcat lunged from under a parked vehicle, biting and scratching the victim.

The man's friends assisted, beating the animal with sticks and a gardening hoe until it ran off. The bobcat then got into a fight with a family dog a few blocks away before being shot by a local resident.

The bobcat tested positive for rabies.

The man received medical attention for his wounds and is continuing to receive treatment to prevent the rabies infection. The dog that was attacked was unvaccinated and will need to be euthanized to protect the family and the public.

This is the sixth rabid animal identified in Pinal County so far in 2010. While this is the first human bitten by a rabid animal this year, eight domestic animals have been exposed to rabid animals. Four had to be euthanized.

County officials are urging residents to have their animals vaccinated against the fatal disease.

"Owners of dogs and cats need to keep in mind the importance of rabies shots for their pets," said Tom Schryer, director of Pinal County Public Health. "We never want to take a family pet away from the home, but are left with no choice if there is a chance it could develop rabies and spread it to other animals or even people. Rabies is basically 100 percent fatal once symptoms appear and that is a risk we cannot afford to take with people's lives."

Contact Pinal County Animal Care and Control for more information concerning rabies vaccination for pets and vaccination clinic times and locations at 520-509-3555 or toll free at 1-888-431-1311.

For more information about rabies, call the Pinal County Public Health Services District at 520-866-7138 or the Arizona Department of Health Services at 602-364-4562.