Vietnam Vet Strangles Rabid Bobcat

Dale Rippy holds his shirt up to display the wounds he suffered in an attack by a rabid bobcat May 30, 2007, outside his Wesley Chapel, Fla., home. The 62-year-old Vietnam veteran said he was acting on instinct when he strangled a rabid 25-pound bobcat that attacked him on the back porch of his Florida home. Rippy was treated for exposure to rabies, and several bites and cuts.
AP Photo/Dale Rippy via The Times
A 62-year-old Vietnam veteran said he was acting on instinct when he strangled a rabid 25-pound bobcat that attacked him on the back porch of his Florida home.

Dale Rippy endured the bobcat's slashes and bites until it clawed into a position where he could grab it by the throat. Then he strangled it.

Rippy said it was clear the crazed bobcat had to be stopped.

"I was bleeding everyplace," Rippy said of the May 30 attack. "If that cat had attacked a child, it would've been really bad. It wouldn't have quit."

Rippy's neighbors in the suburban central Florida neighborhood called for help. Tests showed the dead bobcat was rabid. Rippy was treated for exposure to rabies, and several bites and cuts.

Authorities praised Rippy for clear thinking under pressure.

"We give this guy a lot of credit for what he did," said Pasco County Animal Control Manager Denise Hilton. "The man was definitely using his head when he did that. If he let the cat go, we could have had more victims."