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Leeds man attacked by suspected rabid raccoon

  • Leeds resident Paul Bradish and his dog were jumped by a raccoon early Saturday morning. FILE PHOTO



@ecutts_HG
Monday, November 13, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — A Leeds man spent Saturday recuperating, after being attacked by a raccoon suspected to be rabid.

Relating the tale on Sunday, Paul Bradish noted that, living in a wildlife corridor as he does, he’s gotten in the habit of checking for wild animals before stepping too far out onto his patio and into his yard.

Around 5:30 a.m. Saturday, he woke up in his East Center Street home to let his dog, Juliette, out to do her business. Bradish saw two eyes staring at him from the bushes, but didn’t think anything of it.

Stepping further outside with Juliette, he turned and saw what turned out to be a raccoon, three-fourths of the way to him in a full run. Using his flashlight as a club, Bradish said he was able to hit the raccoon once. It tried getting into the house through the closed patio door and a window before running off.

The raccoon wasn’t gone for long, though. Bradish heard it coming around the corner of the house, and when it came into view, it was baring its teeth.

He is coming for me, Bradish thought.

With Juliette and the raccoon now around his leg, Bradish again attempted to hit the raccoon with his flashlight-turned-club before falling. The raccoon ran off and by that time, Bradish’s wife had woken up and was coming down to see what the noise was about.

“The whole thing maybe lasted one minute,” Bradish said. “It was really fast.”

Dragging himself and the dog back into the house, Bradish said he could see blood on the back of his leg.

Northampton Police were called at 5:48 a.m. and responded to the home. Police were unable to locate the raccoon, according to Det. Jared LaValle. Bradish notified his neighbors about the incident. He said this isn’t the first time rabid animals have been spotted along East Center Street.

Later that morning, Bradish went to the emergency room and received his first set of shots for rabies. He got seven Saturday morning and said he will have to go back three more times.

On Sunday, the wound had already begun to scab and looked like three distinct scratches with a fourth already healed.

Bradish said he couldn’t find any blood on Juliette, a five-year-old Coton de Tuléar. The dog is up to date on her vaccinations, he said.

Bradish said he spent most of the rest of Saturday on the couch, recovering from the incident. He said having to go outside that afternoon and see a fisher in his yard was a little unnerving.

“It’s quite the experience,” Bradish said of the ordeal.

Cases of rabies in humans are rare in the United States with only one to three cases reported annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the last decade, 23 cases of human rabies have been reported in the U.S., and eight of these were contracted outside of the U.S. and its territories.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.