encounter with rabid intruder
May 18, 2000
By DAMIAN PAGANO Herald Staff
Rutland Herald (Vermont)
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
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
A dispatcher there told him that a Vermont
Department of Fish and Wildlife warden would be there in the morning to examine
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
"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.
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