Georgia boy recovering after being attacked by ‘rabid bobcat’
Father of Georgia boy attacked by a bobcat: ‘If we had not been there, I don’t know what would’ve happened’
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A 9-year-old Georgia boy is recovering after being attacked by a rabid bobcat. Officials are now issuing a warning and a change in protocol when reporting a possibly rabid animal.
The Burchett family says it was terrifying. The bobcat came out of nowhere.
“I didn’t know what was attacking me,” said Easton Burchett.
Easton and his mom and dad had stopped by their neighbor’s house over the weekend to let out their dog. Within seconds of stepping out of their vehicle, the Burchetts say a bobcat leaped out from underneath a parked jeep.
“I started punching it and kicking it. Then my dad grabs it and throws it over his head, and it hits the Jeep,” said Easton.
His dad Wes came to the rescue.
“My wife gets out of the truck and she’s like what is going on? And I’m like, ‘get him and get in the truck, it’s a bobcat,’” said Wes Burchett.
Wes managed to pull the cat off Easton and eventually shot it with his pistol, killing it. But the bobcat had already clawed and bit Easton, leaving behind these huge gashes.
While bobcats are common in north Georgia, it’s not often they interact with humans. In fact, Emily Rushton with the Department of Natural Resources says they’re generally more afraid of us than we are of them.
“Bobcats are around. They’re in metro Atlanta. They’re found throughout the state. But they’re very elusive and very secretive,” said Emily Rushton an official with the Department of Natural Resources.
Easton was rushed to the hospital for treatment, receiving 14 stitches, along with a series of painful rabies shots. He’s expected to make a full recovery.
Banks County officials tested the bobcat for rabies and announced three days later it tested positive. The chairman of the Board of Commissioners says the county is changing the protocol to fast-track testing.
“We are going to try to preserve the animal for them until Environmental Health (the state) can get the animal instead of leaving it out there for the responsibility of the person who got bit,” said Charles Turk, chairman of the Board of Commissioners.
“If we had not been there, I don’t know what would’ve happened at this point,” said Wes.
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