Hand-to-Hand Combat With Bobcat

Now here’s a perfect candidate for Outdoor Life’s long-running popular feature, “This Happened to Me!”

A 62-year-old Florida man knew his day was about to take a volatile twist when he came face-to-face with a growling bobcat perched on his doorstep one recent morning. Within seconds after he first spotted it, the animal lunged at Dale Rippy, burying its claws in his legs and biting him repeatedly on his arms and stomach.

Unarmed and engaged in furious combat with a crazed adversary, the Vietnam veteran instinctively knew he had to take drastic measures.Bobcat

Like killing the animal using only his bare hands.

“I was waiting for him to get in a good position so I could hold him,” the Wesley Chapel resident told the St. Petersburg Times.

Rippy gripped the flailing and struggling animal firmly around the neck, using both hands—holding tightly until its body turned lifeless.

“He went limp, and I’m standing there holding him by his neck,” he said. “I was bleeding everyplace.”

The 25-pound bobcat subsequently tested positive for rabies, and Rippy received a series of shots and was medicated to prevent infection.

County officials praised Rippy for his quick thinking and decisive action.

“The man was definitely using his head when he did that,” said Denise Hilton, animal services manager for Pasco County Animal Control. “If he let the cat go, we could have had more victims.”

A recuperating Rippy said he simply did what he had to do.

“If that cat had attacked a child, it would’ve been really bad,” he said.