Injured bobcat on US 301 in Hillsborough County bites woman trying to come to its aid

RIVERVIEW, Fla. - An adult bobcat caused quite a scene around 8:30 Thursday morning on US 301 just south of Symmes Rd. in Riverview.

A 911 took a call from a motorist.

"People are trying to catch a bobcat in the median.  A bobcat?  Yea, there's a bobcat and everybody's getting out of their cars and they're trying to catch this cat," said the unidentified female driver.

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The bobcat apparently got hit by a car and was injured in the grass when one woman decided to help.

"A well-meaning person decided to try to assist the animal; reaching out to touch it, to move it, to cover it with blankets and that person was bitten," explained Marti Ryan with Hillsborough County Animal Services.

Animal Services eventually picked up the bobcat.

Because the bobcat is in a high-risk category for rabies, and it bit someone, its fate is already determined.

"The Florida recommendations and compendium on rabies state very clearly the duty of our veterinarian.  Which is in this case to humanely euthanize the animal for testing of the brain matter because we have to ascertain, for the health of the citizen, whether this animal is carrying rabies," said Ryan.

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The bobcat is common in the bay area and usually roams at night.  They prefer dense shrub thickets like those found just off of US 301.

The unidentified woman who was bitten may be looking at extensive rabies treatments.  Florida Fish and Wildlife and Animal Services want to share this warning:

"Any wounded animal should not be handled, even by a well-meaning citizen.  Please call law enforcement, call the professionals, this is what we do.  Because if you are bitten or scratched you could be exposed to rabies," said Ryan.

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