CHINO VALLEY, Ariz. -- A Chino Valley man and his dog survived a fight with a rabid mountain lion last weekend.
Brandon Arnold was camping 40 miles west of Interstate 17's Bloody Basin exit with his family and friends. They brought along Apollo, a 3-year-old lab-pitbull mix.
Friday morning, as the group was waking up and preparing breakfast, Arnold said a 90-pound female mountain lion jumped out of the bushes.
"It was a sneak attack, for sure," he said. "The dog was getting its butt kicked, yelping."
Arnold grabbed a big skillet they had out for breakfast and beat the lion over the head. Two blows knocked it unconscious and a friend fired a few shots to make sure it was dead.
Arizona Game and Fish officials took the lion for testing. Lab results revealed the lion had rabies. It's only the third confirmed case of a rabid mountain lion in Arizona in the last 10 years.
"I was just running in a craze trying to find something to get it off my dog," Arnold said. "I wasn't thinking about rabies. I was just thinking, 'My dog's gonna die.'"
Luckily, Apollo was up to date on his vaccinations. He survived the attack with several scars. Some of his bite marks are still raw.
"But otherwise, he doesn't seem too bothered," Arnold said. "He's back to normal bringing us sticks and playing like normal."