Connecticut Golfer Recounts Bobcat Attack

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

One Connecticut golfer found himself swinging at more than just golf balls during his time on the course last week. He had to use his golf club to defend himself against a rabid bobcat.

Michael Popkowski, a New London resident, was on the seventh hole at the Mohegan Sun Golf Course in Baltic when the animal attacked. The 70-year-old man said the 30- to 40-pound animal came out of nowhere, pounced on him from behind and started clawing and biting his arm.

"It jumped on his back. He was able to fight it off with a golf club," Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officer Chris Dwyer told WFSB. "He thought it was dead. As he walked a few steps away, it ended up jumping back up and taking off on him."

One of Popkowski's golf buddies was able to scare the bobcat away. The injured golfer was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he received treatment for numerous puncture wounds and lacerations.

"My scalp feels fine," Popkowski told CBS New York. "I've got 11 staples that need to come out. There are bite marks and puncture wounds on my left arm."

Environmental officials tracked down and euthanized the bobcat, which tested positive for rabies. Popkowski is now undergoing treatment to prevent a rabies infection.

Authorities believe the rabid bobcat also bit a horse that lives in the area on the same day it attacked the golfer.

Lori Osowski, the horse's owner, told Eyewitness News 3 that she wanted to protect her horse Bella, so she ran after the bobcat with a shovel, which she threw to scare it away. She then called 911 for assistance.  

"I think she was kicking at it because when it came out of the area where the horses are in, it was limping a lot," Osowski said.

The horse suffered lacerations to the neck and eye and is being treated by a veterinarian.

"She's had about 16 stitches and an ordeal. Her eye is okay," Osowski said.

The horse, which had all her vaccinations and received booster shots, should recover fully.

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