“I thought, ‘Not today.’ There was no way I was going to die,” 46-year-old grandmother DeDe Phillips of Hart County, Georgia, tells the Athens-Banner Herald of her terrifying encounter with a rabid bobcat on June 7.
The wild animal attack, which was unprovoked, occurred in Phillips’ yard around 6 p.m. The woman had walked out of the house with her cell phone, wondering why her neighbor’s dog was barking. She soon realized why: a bobcat, which is local to the rural area, was on the prowl. Phillips took a quick photo, and “the cat took two steps and was on top of me … It came for my face,” she says.
Fortunately for Phillips, she has a knowledge of the wild cats from her father-in-law, who was once a trapper. She knew the large feline would go for her upper body, so she protected herself by squeezing on its throat. After a frightening battle that resulted in a broken finger, many bites and claw wounds to her face, hands, arms, chest and legs, Phillips finally managed to strangle the cat. She didn’t call for help because her 5-year-old granddaughter was in the house.
“I was scared if I screamed for help that my granddaughter would come out and I didn’t want that to happen,” she said. Phillips refused to let go of her grip on the cat, fearing it may not actually be dead. But she did scream for her daughter-in-law, who called 911.
Her son eventually arrived and stabbed the cat multiple times before his mother would release the animal’s lifeless body.
Once the local police and emergency services came to the scene, Phillips drove herself to the Northeast Georgia Medical Center for attention. The next day, she found out the big cat was rabid. Phillips has since begun a round of rabies shots.
Though Phillips counts herself as “very lucky,” the rabies treatment is quite costly, around $10,000 for the first round and she expects to pay more to continue to treat her wounds. Her cousin, Amy Leann Mize, set up a Fundly.com account on behalf of her relative. Those who want to donate to this tough woman’s medical treatment can find more information at fundly.com/let-s-help-dede.
Though the fund has already surpassed its goal, it appears that every little bit will help Phillips. On Monday, her cousin posted an update on her condition:
“We also wanted to tell everyone she went to the orthopedic doctor today and they are preparing to do surgery on her hands after her last round of shots Friday. I asked her was there anything she wanted me to post with this update and this was her response:
‘Just let everyone know that I’m over whelmed at everyone’s help and the bobcat didn’t scare me, but the idea of surgery does! Now I’m nervous!’ So please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she still has a ways to go! Thanks again!!!!”
Ironically, Phillips had posted a bumper sticker on her truck on the same day of the animal attack which reads: “Women who behave rarely make history.” She now has the wild animal battle scars to prove it.