North Carolina couple in bobcat assault acquired rabies pictures

SHUT DOWN

Kristi and Happy Wade were leaving their home in Burgaw, North Carolina when a bobcat attacked the couple.

USA TODAY

With a pet owner in hand, Kristi Wade was walking outside her home in Burgaw, North Carolina to take her 15-year-old cat to the vet when she let out a scream. Her husband Happy took action when something attacked her.

“To be completely honest, I didn’t know what I was holding onto,” he told USA TODAY. But for Kristi she quickly knew what had fallen on her.

“I knew immediately what it was. I knew it was a bobcat. “

When the bobcat attacked Kristi, Happy grabbed the animal, wrestled it and threw it across his yard. Footage of the attack from the Wades surveillance camera was seen on all social media.

It has been more than two weeks since the Bobcat attack took place, but the couple cannot go to church without being seen on TV.

“You jokingly called us: ‘They are celebrities’, but we don’t feel like celebrities,” said Kristi Wade. “We wish the video had never been shared, but it was, so let’s get into that now.”

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Kristi, 52, had been bitten three times by the bobcat and had over 20 stab wounds. Happy, 56, said he was also bitten three times, including just before he threw the cat.

“It bit my hand and the only reason I knew I was bitten was because I literally felt a tooth on my bone,” he said.

Given the amount of time he likes to spend in the woods, Happy knew something was wrong with the bobcat as they often run away and the animal looked underweight.

The Pender County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that a bobcat was killed in Burgaw on the same day the Wades were attacked. The animal was tested at the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health, where it was confirmed that the animal had rabies.

The couple found out about the rabies 24 hours later, the first case in the area in over a year. They survived the attack, but now came the part of dealing with a virus where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say deaths “are rare but typically occur in people who do not seek immediate medical attention.”

Fortunately, the couple were at a local hospital less than an hour later and immediately started using antibiotics. Every mark the bobcat made on the calves had to be surrounded by antibodies, which, according to Kristi, meant a lot of shots.

“They picked arms and thighs and everywhere they could get it into you. It wasn’t fun, but it was necessary, ”she said.

The couple received single shots in the arm five times after the first shots, for a total of 35 shots in 14 days.

“I told the nurse it was almost as bad as being attacked by the cat,” said Kristi.

Happy and Kristi Wade, the couple who were attacked by a bobcat outside their home in Burgaw, North Carolina. (Photo: Courtesy Kristi Wade)

When the couple tried to move on from the incident, Kristi admitted it was going to take a while. She mentioned that her husband received a backlash for drawing his gun and shooting the bobcat, but they both said they love animals as they are part of the local Pender County Humane Society.

Happy said it was obvious the bobcat was sick and in pain, a symptom of rabies.

“Unfortunately we had to turn off the cat, but this cat was suffering and it was the right thing,” he said.

Happily added, if there is one good thing that can come out of this situation is to encourage people to vaccinate their pets against rabies. According to the CDC, around 70 dogs and 250 cats develop rabies among domesticated pets each year.

Along with the backlash, there were positive comments praising Happy for defending his wife, especially as the animal was about to bite its neck. He said he doesn’t think he’s a hero, but he’s one of his wife.

“Someone asked me if I was surprised Happy did that and I absolutely didn’t say anything. As long as I knew him, I always knew that when I found myself in a situation where I needed protection, I would put myself first, ”she said.

But Happy has known his wife since she was a teenager and as they near their 30th wedding anniversary in August he just feels like a husband who loves his wife.

“I’m pretty happy that I married someone who I feel like this about. Not everyone can say that, ”he said. “I just think I’m a loving husband who was lucky enough to marry the right girl.”

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.

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