WINTERVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Two Georgia children are recovering from injuries after separate attacks by what officials called an “aggressive bobcat.”
The attacks happened on Friday near Winterville, a mostly rural community just east of Athens, according to Oglethorpe County Fire & Rescue.
Mae Scoggins tells local news outlets that her 3-year-old niece, Crystal Yamasato, was playing outside around 6:30 p.m. on Friday when the bobcat ran up.
“It just came out of nowhere. It jumped on her. It bit her multiple times. It scratched her,” the 13-year-old Scoggins told WANF-TV.
She said her sister, Crystal’s mother, ran outside as the family dogs attacked the bobcat.
“Her mother pulled her from under the car because it managed to drag her underneath the car,” she said.
Crystal Yamasato was released from the hospital Monday with a broken finger in a cast, as well as scratches and bites.
Oglethorpe County EMS director Jason Lewis said a boy, about 14 years old, was attacked by the same bobcat right before Crystal Yamasato’s encounter, and that medics were responding to the first attack when they heard about the second. Lewis said it’s unclear if the bobcat has rabies, but said both children are receiving medical treatment as if they were bitten by a rabid animal.
“Oglethorpe is a rural county. Any animal that is native to Georgia, there is a possibility that it lives here,” Lewis told WAGA-TV. “But in my 27-year career, I have never known a bobcat attack.”
The Humane Society of the United States says bobcats mostly roam at night, but are sometimes seen during the day while hunting. Just seeing a bobcat in the daytime doesn’t mean it’s rabid or aggressive, the group says. However, the Humane Society said bobcats sometimes lose their fear of people, especially when people have been feeding them.