An Ashcroft man and his dog suffered minor injuries after a bobcat attacked them in their backyard near Desert Sands Community School.
Joel Anstet 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 Anstet didn’t go out with Apollo, but that night he did.
The dog didn’t seem agitated, but as soon as he got out, he put his nose in the air, sniffed, and headed for the back of the shed in the back yard.
“I hadn’t heard anything,” says Anstet. “But then I heard a roar, then a thud and a scream, like something had fallen on him.
“Then I heard a lot of rustling, and the dog started barking, and I heard really bad hissing and screaming. I thought ‘what’s going on?’
Anstat walked over to the shed and, using the flashlight on his cell phone, saw what looked like a “really, really big cat” on top of Apollo. At first he thought it was a lynx because of its ears, but later recognized it as a bobcat from photographs.
“I panicked,” he says. “It was on top of my dog, and on instinct I jumped on it.
“The animal and I were wrestling, and he was biting and clawing at me. I was chewing really bad. The adrenaline was pumping, and I threw the animal into the neighbor’s yard. It was Apollo’s. It was almost twice the size and heavier.
In the confusion, Apollo had fled, and Anstet had no idea where he had gone.
“I was worried, and I didn’t realize the door was still open. I was calling and calling, and then I heard him yelling from inside. I yelled that Apollo and I had been attacked. .
Enstat was severely bitten and scratched on his fingers, wrists, arms and legs. “My arm is really swollen, and I have some big bite marks. I was rushed to the Royal Inland in Kamloops. I was bleeding really bad, but I thought if I could get bandaged up by the time I got to Kamloops. If so, I will be fine.
“I thought it was best for the ambulance to stay in town, in case something more serious happened, because my life-threatening injuries weren’t crazy.”
Anstat has received tetanus and rabies shots, and will have two follow-up rabies shots. Apollo had bite marks on his back, which Anstat was treating until he could be taken to a vet in 100 miles.
“He’s doing really well,” Anstet says. “We’re cleaning his wounds, and they’re drying up. I’m still recovering, too.”
Although Anstatt hasn’t seen any signs of bobcats in the neighborhood, he says Apollo has been acting strangely the past two nights. “He would go into a corner of the fence and chase something, but I didn’t know what it was.” He believes that on the night of the attack, the bobcat was sitting on the fence, saw Apollo go by, and pounced.
He adds that when he was at RIH, he was told that no one had heard of a bobcat attack.
Bobcat attacks on people are “very rare,” says Vanessa Snardy, program manager for WildSafe BC.
“However, people can be injured when they are protecting pets or livestock,” she said via email. “Bobcats will come into the community if there are food sources, and that includes small livestock. Conflicts should be reported to the Conservation Officer Service and attractors should be managed in a way that prevents conflicts.
“With small livestock, if they are released outside, they should be fenced in such a way that predators cannot jump into the area or climb over the fence.”
He added that Kamloops has had two winters in a row with lynx as well as moose in town.
“I can’t speak to whether bobcats are unusual in Ashcroft. However, that is to be expected with unusual weather events and extremes, which affect predators and prey and their habitat. [that] We are likely to have more ‘extraordinary’ conversations like this.
Coincidentally, on July 21 the Village of Ashcroft alerted residents that a cougar had been spotted in the Ashcroft Valley Estates mobile home park on Mesa Vista Court, and warned residents to keep children and pets inside. The village later sent a second notice on July 21 that the Conservation Office and RCMP had dealt with the situation and there was no longer a threat.
Anyone who sees wildlife in or near the communities is urged to call the Conservation Office’s 24-hour RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters) line at 1-877-952-7277 (*7277 on mobile phones). Notify. The view is updated daily on the Wildlife Alert Reporting Program map, developed by WildSafeBC. For more information, and to see a map, go to https://bit.ly/3opIJC1.
Anstet is just happy that Apollo is okay after the attack.
“I’ve never seen a bobcat up close, or had to wrestle or wrestle one. My wife and my kid and my dog are my kids. I think anybody else would have done the same thing.”
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