Newcastle dog survives bobcat attack

June 6, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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A Newcastle family received quite a scare the morning of April 24, when their 12-year-old bichon frise, Hannah, narrowly escaped the grips of a bobcat.

Myron Thomas and his son Peyton, 12, were in the kitchen eating breakfast, when they heard a loud yelp emerge from the backyard of their China Creek home in The Terrace development.

“All I saw was the little brown tail of a bobcat just walking away, and then I saw Hannah walking up the deck all bloody,” Peyton said

Contributed Hannah, a 12-year-old bichon frise, recuperates from hours of surgery after being attacked by a bobcat April 24.

Hannah, a 12-year-old bichon frise, recuperates from hours of surgery after being attacked by a bobcat April 24.

As soon as Myron opened the back door, the bobcat got scared and ran off, but the damage had already been done.

“Hannah had about a dozen puncture wounds with claw marks on her right side, these three really long scratches,” Myron said.

Myron covered Hannah with a towel to stop the bleeding and quickly transported her to a pet hospital, where she received more than 70 stitches and spent more than two hours in surgery.

“They said she was really lucky in that none of the puncture wounds were very deep,” Myron said. “There was only one puncture wound that actually got into the muscle, but otherwise they were all superficial.”

At 12 years old, Hannah does not hear as well as she used to, which is probably why the bobcat was able to get so close to her, Myron said. Hannah is an indoor dog; the family had just let her outside to go to the bathroom when the bobcat attacked.

“It was a chaotic morning,” Peyton said. “When I got home from school that day, she was just out. She hardly moved for a couple days.”

Just three weeks after the attack, Hannah was back to her old self, said Wendy Thomas, Myron’s wife and Peyton’s mother. Wendy was in Las Vegas when the attack occurred.

“She’s made a full recovery, which is amazing,” she said. “She doesn’t seem fazed when she’s in the backyard. If you come up behind her very quickly, though, she’s very skittish, and that’s new.”

It was the first time the family had seen a bobcat in their backyard, though Myron said he was fully aware that the animals are around. Hannah was simply fortunate to escape, but Wendy said she was not surprised that she did.

“Hannah is really a diva, and she’s very, very sweet, but she can be really feisty,” Wendy said. “I think that’s probably how she got away. She probably went crazy on that bobcat.”

Bobcat attacks on domestic animals are rare, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website. The reclusive animals are not often seen, but they are becoming more prevalent in suburban settings.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife suggests that dog and cat owners keep their animals inside from dusk to dawn, and to feed them inside, to prevent a bobcat attack.

Bobcats can climb and have the ability to jump fences as high as 6 feet, so the department recommends using electric or woven wire on fences, if necessary. Again, though, bobcats rarely target domestic animals, instead using wild animals as prey.

“It’s a risk based on where we live,” Myron said. “These kind of wild animals are around us.”

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