On Friday, May 18, 2012 a mountain lion attacked a group of campers and their dog in the Arizona Tonto National Forest along the Verde River.
The mountain lion came out of the bushes and began to attack the dog, Apollo, a 3-year-old lab-pitbull mix. The owner, Brandon Arnold grabbed the skillet they had out for breakfast and beat the lion over the head. With two blows to the mountain lion’s head, he was able to knock it unconscious. A friend then shot the mountain lion a few times to be sure it was dead.
The group of campers called the Arizona Game and Fish Department, who transported the mountain lion to the Arizona State Health Laboratory for disease testing. Today, May 21, tests confirmed that the mountain lion was rabid.
Rabies is an acute viral infection that is transmitted to humans or other mammals usually through the saliva from a bite of an infected animal.
According to the Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, all mammals are susceptible to rabies. Raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, dogs, coyotes and cats are the likely suspects. Other animals like otters and ferrets are also high risk. Mammals like rabbits, squirrels, rodents and opossums are rarely infected.
Apollo suffered from a few wounds, but nothing life-threatening. Thankfully, the dog Apollo, was up to date with his vaccinations so he was able to recover quickly from the mountain lion attack. Brandon Arnold, Apollo’s owner says, “Within ten minutes, I couln’t get him to leave me alone with a rock or a stick. He was swimming and ready to go.”
As extra protection, the dog has been placed under quarantine for the next month and can’t be around his other play-mates.
Will Humble, Arizona Department of Health Services director says this is a good reminder that you need to be careful when out in the wilderness. “People need to pack up a good dose of common sense when they head out into the outdoors. If a wild animal is coming around, stay away from it.”