A bobcat that state officials believe attacked several people and dogs in Connecticut over the weekend in Bozrah and Lebanon was rabid, officials said on Tuesday.
Summer and Tom Berube were out for a walk with their newborn daughter, Neeve, the area of Norwich Avenue and Waterman Road in Lebanon around 7 p.m. on Sunday when the bobcat approached Tom, who was carrying the baby in a sling, Summer Berube said.
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Tom did not hesitate and fought back to protect his family. It was one of several attacks state environmental officials believe the animal was responsible for, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
“It started running toward me. It made like a hissing noise. I stomped my foot, but it didn't do anything," Tom Berube said.
Tom grabbed a mailbox from the side of the road to defend his family.
"When it jumped at Tom, all four paws off the ground, he swung at was able to knocked it down," Summer said. “I was just screaming at the top of my lungs for help.”
"I slammed it in the head, knocked it down to the ground. It did a quick flip over on the ground, got back up, did another hiss," Tom said.
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The animal kept circling, so Summer flagged down the driver of a truck passing by and they called the state Department on Energy and Environmental Protection.
Environmental Conservation Police were already nearby because the bobcat had attacked a woman in Bozrah the day before.
That woman had been feeding her chickens in the yard on Stanton Hill Road around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday when the bobcat attacked her, an environmental conservation police official said.
Her husband and two sons hit the bobcat until it ran away. The woman was scratched and bitten and was taken to Backus Hospital to be treated.
"We wanted to maintain a presence there in case the cat did return, in which case we could secure it and have it tested," Officer Steve Stanko said.
It would not be long before police received a report of a third attack and found the bobcat stalking some dogs nearby.
“Finally, they were able to make contact with the bobcat and had put it down with gunshot," Stanko said.
EnCon police found the bobcat on McGrath Lane in Lebanon and took it to the state's lab in Rocky Hill to be tested for rabies.
The Berubes said they are shaken but thankful that the latest family walk was far less eventful
"Going forward, if I ever see a bobcat, I'm waving down someone immediately to get in their car," Summer Berube said.