Rabid bobcat attacks child near Oakboro

Published 6:42 pm Friday, August 23, 2019

A rabid bobcat attacked a child in Oakboro on Aug. 16, according to officials.

The incident occurred between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Richard Sandy Road, according to Charles Hartsell, animal control supervisor at Stanly County Animal Control.

The child’s father killed the bobcat and its head was sent for testing at a lab in Raleigh, according to Hartsell.

Local officials received the positive results on Tuesday.

The child sustained moderate injuries from the attack.

Rabies cases are not unheard of in Stanly.

“It’s rare that we get these, but we do get them from time to time,” David Jenkins, director of health and human services in Stanly, said. “Fortunately, when the bobcat was shot we were able to salvage the head (for testing.)”

This incident does not signal an elevated threat of rabies cases in the area, Jenkins said.

“Obviously, people should be cognizant of wild animals acting strangely and should call animal control,” Jenkins said.

Last year, there were three known positive cases of rabies in Stanly, one involving a skunk and two from a raccoon, according to the North Carolina Division of Public Health. There were a total of 303 positive cases in the state.

In 2017, there were 254 positive cases in North Carolina, with one case in Stanly involving a raccoon, while there were 251 cases, including four in Stanly, in 2017. Those four involved one fox, two raccoons and a skunk.

To report possible cases of rabies to Stanly County Animal Control, call 704-986-3881.

Imari Scarbrough is a freelance correspondent for The Stanly News and Press.