NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) – Karen Morse still can’t believe it. A rabid bobcat walked right through the open front door of her North Port home.
“You could hear everybody screaming,” Morse told News Channel 8. “We we’re all in here, six of us, screaming.”
Morse’s son, Bill, and his family were visiting from North Carolina when it happened. The family was getting ready to take the dog for a walk when the bobcat walked in the house.
“I thought it was an overgrown cat, like a really, really big domesticated cat, and, there was going to be a dog-cat fight,” Morse said.
That’s exactly what happened.
The frisky feline turned ferocious – fast. The animal went after the tiny family dog, Sammie. The five-pound Italian greyhound was terrified when the bobcat dove at him.
Things got really chaotic as the bobcat tore through the house and ran out the back door onto the lanai. Turns out, the animal was infected with rabies, but the family didn’t know it.
Morse and her family called 911 immediately and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sent officers to her home.
“They opened the lanai door, hoping the cat would go out. And, they waited and waited. And he wouldn’t leave,” she said.
Not only would the bobcat not leave, he then attacked a wildlife officer who was on scene to help. The cat scratched that officer, but a ballistic vest prevented more serious injuries. The cat was finally taken out and later euthanized humanely after the positive rabies test.
The bobcat marked its territory in the kitchen. Since Morse and her family, including her three grandsons, cleaned it up with paper towels, unaware of the rabies infection, they are all undergoing a series of rabies shots.
They had to visit four area hospitals to receive numerous shots. Those shots will last over the course of two weeks.
The wildlife officer is also being treated at this time, but declined to comment on the incident.
Sammie suffered five puncture wounds and had to be revaccinated.
“Normally, the bobcats are wild animals, don’t come near humans. They stay away because they’re afraid. So, we should’ve realized right away there was a problem with this cat. I don’t think I’m going to be getting a small dog anytime soon,” Morse said.
The FWC provided further information about bobcats and their presence in Florida.