Roger Mundell Jr. had gone into his Brookfield garage when he heard a hiss. Then, from behind his wife’s car, the bobcat lunged, sinking its fangs into Mundell’s face and wrapping its front legs around his torso.
“It was on me in a split second,” he said Sunday, hours after the attack. “I have bite marks in my eyelid, up my forehead. It scratched my back. I was bleeding like crazy.”
After the bobcat attacked both Mundell and his 15-year-old nephew, they were able to pin the animal to the ground and shoot it in the head. Environmental Police took its remains to test it for rabies, according to a spokesman for the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, but test results were not available Sunday night.
Mundell, his nephew, and his wife spent much of the day in the hospital, getting rabies treatments, according to Mundell. His wife, he said, was not bitten, but got the bobcat’s blood on her hands after he shot the animal.
Bobcats are not an unusual sight near Mundell’s home, which sits on 90 acres one-quarter mile from Route 9 in Brookfield, but Mundell said the big cats have never been a problem.
“This is completely out of character for a bobcat, even to be in the garage in the first place,” said Tom French, assistant director for the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. “It is completely consistent with an animal that may have rabies.”
French said there has been maybe one other bobcat attack in Massachusetts.
No one keeps statistics on how many bobcats there are in the state, said French, because the creatures normally avoid humans. But from Worcester County westward, he said, they are common, and spreading east, too, though they have not crossed the Cape Cod Canal.
On Sunday, Mundell, 53, said he was thankful that it was him, not his wife or nephew, who walked into the garage.
“It would have killed my wife,” he said. “I know it would have.”
Mundell said he was lucky to be wearing a thick jacket. When the bobcat attacked him, he managed to pull the jacket — with the bobcat clinging to it — over his head, throwing the 40-pound animal off. Bleeding, he ran for the door. As he slammed it behind him, he heard the bobcat thud into the glass.
All he could think of, he said, was his 15-year-old nephew in the front yard. As Mundell raced to warn him, the bobcat emerged and pounced, biting the teenager on the forearm.
“I went and I don’t know what I did — I strangled it, I choked it,” said Mundell.
His wife ran inside to get their Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380. Mundell shot the bobcat while kneeling on its neck and body.
“I shot it twice just to make sure,” said Mundell.
“I used everything I had to do it,” he said. “You don’t test it, you do it.”
Evan Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org