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Family survives encounter with rabid intruder

May 18, 2000

By DAMIAN PAGANO Herald Staff
Rutland Herald (Vermont)
http://rutlandherald.nybor.com/

FLORENCE - Shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday, bedlam broke loose in Edward Tuliper's front yard.

Howling and barking. A real racket.

"I thought, 'Oh jeez, the dog's getting into a porcupine,'" Tuliper said, recounting the experience Wednesday.

He heard his wife, Linda, holler out of concern for the family dog.

Then her shouts turned to screams of fright: A large, rabid bobcat was trying to get through the front door.

"It was snarling and it was growling and it was clawing for all its worth," Tuliper said.

As Tuliper tells it, the bobcat - a full-grown female that weighed more that 40 pounds - had been backed into a narrow front entryway by the dog. Tuliper's wife, concerned for their German shepherd tied up in the front yard, had opened the door to check.

When she did, the bobcat tried to barge in. Linda Tuliper immediately slammed the door, but wedged the bobcat's head and front leg between the door and frame. The cat was furiously clawing to get in.

Tuliper said he instinctively went to his gun cabinet for a rifle, but couldn't find any ammunition. So he went back to his bedroom, grabbed a machete that he kept near his bed and ran back to the front door.

His wife and 13-year-old daughter were still there, trying to shut the door on the animal, but the cat was persistent.

Tuliper lunged at it with the machete and rained several blows down upon its head.

"I couldn't tell you how long I fought with it," he said. "The adrenaline was going and all I could think of was trying to protect my family."

Tuliper's daughter grabbed a pistol and gave it to her father, who continued to struggle with the bobcat. After striking the animal in the head several times, Tuliper said, he thought it was dead. But it continued to flail at him with its claws.

Tuliper fired from point blank range three times, but missed on each shot.

"I thought I was close enough to hit it," he said.

So he took careful aim and fired again. That time, he said, the bobcat stopped moving. It was dead.

Tuliper called 911 and reached the Vermont State Police.

A dispatcher there told him that a Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife warden would be there in the morning to examine the corpse.

Warden Donald Isabelle, who handled the case, said Wednesday the animal was rabid. Although bobcats are common where the family lived in Florence, he said, it is rare to have a report of one with rabies.

"I'm not sure if this is the first case in Vermont or not, but it is not common," he said.

And, he said, he has never heard of one entering a house.

"It was probably trying to get away from the dog that was tethered in the yard," he said. "When they opened the door, it probably saw a chance to escape."

Fortunately, Tuliper said, the animal didn't hurt anyone. Even Max, the dog, escaped relatively unscathed with only scratches and a bite on his ear.

But Tuliper said it could have been worse.

"If that thing had gotten into the house, it probably would have killed us," he said.


NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed, without profit, for research or educational purposes. We do our best, as well, to give credit to the original news source who published these Guns Save Lives stories out of respect and appreciation for their willingness to spread the word that Guns Save Lives.

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