An Ashcroft man and his dog suffered minor injuries after what appears to have been a bobcat attack in the backyard of their home near Desert Sands Community School.
Joel Anstett says that at 11:30 p.m. on July 20, his dog Apollo — a large beagle — was scratching at the door to get out. Normally, Anstett wouldn’t date Apollo, but that night he did.
The dog didn’t seem agitated, but as soon as he got out he looked up, sniffed and ran to the back of the shed in the back yard.
“I hadn’t heard anything,” Anstett said. “But then I heard a loud thump, then a growl and a scream, like something had landed on him.
“Then I heard a lot of rustling, and the dog started barking, and I heard really bad hissing and howling. I thought ‘What’s going on?’
Anstett walked to the hangar and, using the flashlight on his cell phone, saw what looked like a “really, really big cat” above Apollo. At first he thought it was a lynx, because of its ears, but later identified it from pictures as a bobcat.
“I panicked,” he said. “It was above my dog, and by instinct I jumped on it.
“The animal and I were struggling, and it was biting and scratching me. I was getting chewed up pretty badly. The adrenaline was rushing and I threw the animal into a neighbor’s yard. size of Apollo, and much heavier.
In the confusion, Apollo had escaped and Anstett did not know where he had gone.
“I was distraught and didn’t realize the door was still open. I was calling and calling, then I heard him inside, screaming. I shouted that Apollo and I had been attacked.
Anstett had been bitten and scratched hard on his fingers, wrist, arm and leg. “My arm is really swollen and I have really big bite marks. I was taken straight to Royal Inland in Kamloops. it would be good.
“I thought it best for the ambulance to stay in town, in case anything more serious happened, as mine were not life-threatening injuries.”
Anstett has had tetanus and rabies shots, and there will be two follow-up rabies shots. Apollo had bite marks on his back, which Anstett was treating until he could be taken to the vet in 100 Mile.
“He’s doing great,” Anstett said. “We have cleaned his wounds, and they are drying up. I’m healing right now too.
Although Anstett saw no signs of bobcats in the neighborhood, he says that on the previous two nights Apollo had been acting strangely. “He was going to a corner of the fence and chasing something, but I didn’t know what it was.” He thinks the night of the attack, the bobcat sat on the fence, saw Apollo pass by, and jumped up.
He adds that when he was at the RIH he was told no one had heard of a bobcat attack.
Vanessa Isnardy, program manager for WildSafeBC, says bobcat attacks on people are “very rare.”
“However, people can hurt themselves when protecting pets or livestock,” she said by email. “Bobcats will come into communities if there are food sources, and that includes small livestock. Conflicts should be reported to the Conservation Officers Department and attractants should be managed in a way that prevents conflicts.
“With small livestock, if they are left outside unattended, they should be fenced off so that predators cannot jump into the area or scale the fence.”
She added that there have been lynx in Kamloops two winters in a row, as well as moose in town.
“I cannot say if Ashcroft bobcats are unusual. However, unusual and extreme weather events, which affect predators and prey and their habitat, can probably be expected. [that] we’ll probably have more “unusual” interactions like this.
Coincidentally, on July 21, the Village of Ashcroft warned residents that a cougar had been spotted in the Ashcroft Valley Estates mobile home park on Mesa Vista Courte and warned residents to keep children and pets away. inside. The village sent a second notice later on July 21 indicating that the Conservation Office and the RCMP had resolved the situation and that there was no longer a threat.
Anyone who sees wildlife in or around communities is encouraged to report through the Office of Conservation’s 24-hour Report All Braconers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277 (*7277 on a mobile phone). Sightings are updated daily on the Wildlife Alert Reporting Program map, which was developed by WildSafeBC. For more information and to view the map, go to https://bit.ly/3opIJC1.
Anstett is just glad Apollo is okay after the attack.
“I have never seen a bobcat up close, or had to wrestle or fight one. My wife, my child and my dog are my babies. I think anyone else would have done the same.
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