ATLANTA, Ga. — “My first thought was not today. I wasn’t dying today.”
Just moments before wrestling the wildcat last Thursday, Dede Mealor Phillips put a sticker on the back of her new truck – women who behave rarely make history.
She walked inside to grab her phone to take a picture of the sticker and with the camera app open walked outside to find this.
A bobcat staring at her.
Seconds after snapping this picture it attacked.
“As soon as it took the first step I was in trouble and I knew it,” Phillips said. “When it got to that pole it leaped on me. I grabbed it by the shoulders and pushed it back away from me. And I took it down right here.”
It bit and broke fingers on both of her hands and cut and bruised her all over her body.
“And from that point on it was just me trying to fight for my life,” Phillips said.
With her granddaughter sleeping inside, Dede never screamed.
“I started praying don’t let her come to the door,” Phillips said.
She managed to get her hands around the animal’s throat and never let go.
“And I strangled it to death,” Phillips said.
Dede’s home is in the middle of soybean fields so she never expected to encounter a bobcat.
Authorities found out it was rabid and burned the blood left in her front yard. Now, Dede must get a painful and expensive series of shots to keep her from contracting the disease.
She believes if she hadn’t killed the rabid animal, it would have killed her.
“If I had ever let it go it would have been me so I made sure I never let it go,” Phillips said.
A family member has set up a GoFundMe account to help Phillips pay for her medical expenses.