Three women were attacked by a bobcat while having lunch near a greenhouse in Colchester on Tuesday morning has tested positive for rabies.
The attack happened at a greenhouse on Waterhole Road around 11:45 a.m.
According to authorities, about 20 people were having lunch on the property of The Caring Community, which the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said is a social service provider of residential and day programs.
There was blood on the animal's face and it appeared to be injured, according to authorities.
The bobcat jumped on one of the women and the two others were scratched while trying to help her, according to DEEP officials.
Authorities said the unidentified women were transported to the Marlborough Medical Center for evaluation and treatment, DEEP officials said.
DEEP Spokesman Dennis Schain said the three women will all have to undergo rabies tests and possible treatment.
“You just can't take a chance with a disease like that and how horrible that is,” Schain said.
He added that despite the scary incident, the level of rabid animals in Connecticut is actually fairly low so attacks like this are very rare. It's still a good reminder to be careful around wildlife.
“We remind the public to keep their distance from wild animals they are fun to see and interesting to observe a bear a fox a bobcat but be respectful and be safe,” Schain said.
After the attack, DEEP and Environmental Conservation Police responded to the greenhouse as the bobcat was heading to the woods. The animal got into an aggressive attack stance and that's when an officer shot and killed the bobcat.
The bobcat was taken to the Connecticut Department of Public Health lab where the animal tested positive for rabies, according to DEEP.
DEEP said that "various strains of rabies are always present among mammals in the wild."
DEEP officials said it is "rare for bobcats to attack humans – and most often rabies is the cause of that."
Due to the incident, East Hampton Public Schools Superintendent Paul K. Smith said they are making sure that students are safe and "bus drop-offs in that area will be closer to student homes."
Danicee Butcka has lived next to The Caring Community of Connecticut for the last 23 years, and with a lot of woods nearby, it's not uncommon to see wild animals.
"We've seen bobcats in our backyard and then crossing down the street," Butcka said. "It's scary to think something like that can happen in broad daylight."
For current rabies statistics, click here.
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