Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Man strangles rabid bobcat
When the animal attacked, Dale Rippy stayed cool.
By CAMILLE C. SPENCER
Published June 19, 2007
The bobcat struggled to free itself, but Dale Rippy was determined not to let go. He choked the bobcat for about a minute until it died.
[Courtesy of Dale Rippy]
[Photo courtesy of Dale Rippy]
Dale Rippy was attacked by a rabid bobcat May 30 outside his Wesley Chapel home.
WESLEY CHAPEL - Dale Rippy follows the same routine every trash day.
He wakes up, heads to the curb of his home in the Villages of Wesley Chapel, rolls his empty trash cans to the back porch and stores them for the next garbage collection.
But when he reached the back porch about 7 a.m. May 30, he found a grumbling 25-pound bobcat on his doorstep.
"I've seen bobcats before, but this one growled this deep, loud growl," Rippy said. "I set my cart down with the cans because I knew he was going to jump and bite me."
Rippy is 62. He is a Vietnam veteran. Growing up on a farm in Indiana, he was used to animals. He'd even seen bobcats before.
But this one was different. So Rippy braced himself, preparing for the worst.
The bobcat lunged toward him, biting Rippy in the abdomen. Then the animal wrapped its body around Rippy's, sliding its sharp nails across Rippy's arms and legs, leaving bloody scratches.
He knew he had to do something, anything, to stop the attack.
So Rippy grabbed the animal by the neck.
"I was waiting for him to get in a good position so I could hold him," he said.
The bobcat struggled to free itself, but Rippy was determined not to let go. He choked the bobcat for about a minute until it died.
"He went limp, and I'm standing there holding him by his neck," he said. "I was bleeding everyplace."
Rippy's wife and son were off to work. So Rippy, injured but calm, put the bobcat down and headed toward his neighbor's house.
Barbara Ahlers called authorities. Her husband, George, took pictures of their bloodied neighbor. And Rippy took pictures of the bobcat.
An Animal Control official arrived and took the bobcat away. Because of its unusual behavior, the animal was tested for rabies.
The test came back positive two days later. Rippy was placed on medication and given a series of shots.
Still, a rabies alert was never issued because of a Pasco County Health Department rule: There must be three animals that test positive for rabies in one ZIP code in order for the public to be alerted.
Florida bobcats usually weigh 15 to 35 pounds. They typically prey on small animals, such as rabbits, rodents and birds, although occasionally they go for larger game like deer.
After the attack, county officials praised Rippy for his quick thinking.
"We give this guy a lot of credit for what he did," said Denise Hilton, animal services manager for Pasco County Animal Control. "The man was definitely using his head when he did that. If he let the cat go, we could have had more victims."
Rippy, recuperating at home from his puncture wounds, was glad he acted on his instincts.
"If that cat had attacked a child, it would've been really bad," he said. "It wouldn't have quit."