By WECT Staff | April 16, 2021 at 8:06 PM EDT – Updated April 19 at 6:14 AM
BURGAW, N.C. (WECT) – Last Friday, April 9, was quite the morning for one couple in Pender County.
Home security video shows Kristi and Happy Wade walking to their SUV at their home in the Creekside subdivision in Burgaw.
It was early in the morning and the two were taking their senior cat, Caroline Faith, to the veterinarian.
Happy offers a quick “good morning” to a neighbor jogging by and comments that he “really needs to wash his car.”
Seconds later, a wild bobcat can be seen running across the street, growling and then attacking Kristi from behind. She screams, “Oh my god” and tells Happy to run away.
“As I came out of our garage, I heard a growl behind or beside one of our cars and I knew it was a cat because I know what a cat sounds like,” Kristi said. “But it sounded like a very angry cat, so in the video I back up to see if I can see what it is and when I do the face of this bobcat came around the corner of the car.”
The bobcat is seen crawling up Kristi’s back. She received a number of puncture wounds and scratches and was bitten several times.
Happy grabs the bobcat and carries it away onto his front lawn.
“I just remember seeing this face and it was trying to bite her right there in the side of the neck,” Happy said. “And so I shoved my arm in and that’s how I ended up with it like this [above his head].”
He can be heard saying, “Oh my god, it’s a bobcat! Oh my god” before throwing the wild animal several feet. According to Happy, the animal bit Happy three times before he was able to throw it.
“I thought: ‘I’ll throw it this way,’” Happy said. “Two options: one, it’ll see an escape route and it’ll take off or it’ll stop just a moment where I can get a good shot at it.”
He warns the jogging neighbor, who came back to check on them, to get out as she tries to help.
The bobcat then takes off toward the front of the SUV, as Happy appears to pull out a small handgun and yell, “I’ll shoot that f***er” and chases it. He implores the neighbor to protect his wife while he deals with the animal.
Rabid bobcat attacks woman (RAW VIDEO SOURCE: Kristi & Happy Wade)
Happy finally shot the animal because he knew something was wrong with it.
“I’m not happy that this happened, we don’t take any pleasure that I shot the cat” Happy said. “I knew when I realized it was a bobcat, having been born and raised in Eastern North Carolina and hunting all my life, you know, that’s just not normal.”
It was later confirmed the Bobcat did have rabies.
“In my head, I knew it had already attacked two people. If it had attacked somebody else and I didn’t do something, morally it would have bothered me for a long time,” Happy said. “It was hurting my wife and I didn’t want it to.”
The neighbor who came back to check on the couple called 911 to report the attack. In the call log provided by the Pender County Sheriff’s Office the incident unfolds.
“My neighbor was attacked by a bobcat,” the neighbor said. “She’s inside; we believe she needs medical attention. The bobcat is still under the car hiding.”
The 911 operator asks her to describe the animal.
“It’s definitely not a [domestic] cat…it’s too large to be a cat.” She describes it as gray with leopard-spot markings.
The neighbor says Happy is standing there with a gun and will shoot the bobcat if he can.
The man can be heard firing at least one shot, wounding the bobcat. The caller said the bobcat then hid behind a tire under their vehicle.
The bobcat was eventually killed by law enforcement and its body sent to the state lab in Raleigh where it tested positive for rabies.
“This animal was very sick and I don’t know from experience but I understand rabies is a very terrible death for an animal,” Kristi said. “So this animal was already very sick.”
“And probably in a lot of pain, too,” Happy added.
Kristi and Happy are grateful that they were together that morning and said it could have been so much worse.
“He saved my life. I don’t know where I’d be or what sort of shape I’d be in had he not been there,” Kristi said. “It could have been so much worse it could have been one of the little girls that lives just a few houses down.”
Both Happy and Kristi have gone through the treatment for rabies and have both received over 30 shots each.
“It’s just the protocol so we don’t want people to be afraid of that either,” Kristi said. “Hopefully no one gets bit by a rabid animal, but if you do don’t wait, get immediate attention and do what you have to do and let medical professionals take care of you.”
They said they love animals and have one rescue dog and two rescue cats. They also serve on the board of the Pender County Humane Society Golf Tournament.
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