Steve Verschoor, the Good Samaritan who stopped to help a man and his dog as they were being attacked by a bobcat in Anthem, talks about the incident.
He decided not to kick the attacking animal. He was wearing flip-flops.
But Steve Verschoor didn’t hesitate to weigh in when he saw a bobcat going after a German shepherd in his Anthem neighborhood on Sunday.
He had been driving down a street near Anthem Country Club when he saw a small cluster of people.
“I slowed down initially to see what everyone was standing around watching,” he said.
“Then I saw it was a bobcat attacking the German shepherd.”
He got out of his car so quickly he forgot to put it in park.
Caught on video swinging bobcat around
Steve Verschoor said the bobcat then went for the dog’s eye, so he put his hands between the two animals, forcing them apart. As the bobcat let go of the dog, it latched onto Verschoor’s hand.
Those watching a video of the battle posted on Facebook can see Verschoor start flinging the bobcat around to try to get it to let go of his hand.
When it did, Verschoor said, “My immediate response was to count the fingers on my hand to make sure they were all still there.”
The bobcat bounded away.
It was soon located and put down by Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies. On Monday, Arizona Game and Fish Department officials confirmed that the animal was rabid.
Verschoor has started taking the series of rabies-prevention shots.
On Tuesday, during his second round of shots in the vaccination schedule, which will continue every seven days for up to a month, doctors told him his finger did not seem broken, but could be fractured.
He is scheduled to see a hand specialist later this week to do a more through check of his hand and bite wounds.
The German shepherd, Skelly, also has been treated for his wounds and is undergoing the series of rabies-prevention shots.
Mike Shields, Skelly’s owner, lives not far from Verschoor. Contacted Tuesday, he said he was not ready to talk to a reporter. He said he was still distraught and working to help Skelly heal.
Verschoor, 54, said despite his injuries, he would do it again in a heartbeat.
“I’m no hero. I’m just a man who loves animals as much as I love my family,” he said.
He might, however, remember to properly stop his car. When he saw Verschoor’s vehicle start to roll away, the man recording the incident jumped in to put it in park.
‘Stand up for those who can’t stand for themselves’
“My dad thinks he is Chuck Norris or something,” Brittany Verschoor, Steve’s daughter, said after the attack.
Brittany says her dad has a soft spot for dogs and has two “fur babies” of his own at home, one with only three legs.
“He has always said you need to stand up for those who can’t stand for themselves,” she said.
Brittany lived with her father until five months ago, when she moved out of state for her job. She said, “It’s nothing out of character for my dad to save animals. In fact, he didn’t want any harm to come to the dog or the bobcat.”
She said her dad told her it’s unfortunate the bobcat tested positive for rabies and had to be put down.
“He is just an animal lover in general, and will save any animal, no matter what.”
Verschoor said, “I was more relieved that he was rabid, than distressed because now I have to take the rabies vaccinations. Finding out he was a little unstable or mentally unstable gave me some relief that he wasn’t being put down unnecessarily.”
He said he was thankful that Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies were there to put the bobcat down.
He said he was thankful he was there because if he had not been, perhaps an elderly person walking a small dog, or a group of kids, could have been victims of an attack.
As of June 30, there were 59 animals that had tested positive for rabies in Arizona this year, four of which were bobcats, according to data from the the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Two such cases had been reported in Maricopa County as of that date. Pima County had the most, with 24 cases.
An adult bobcat is about twice the size of an average house cat and can weigh anywhere from 15 to 35 pounds, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Verschoor said residents on the fringes of the metro area where wild animals roam always should carry walking sticks or canes with them in case they need to use them to fend off a wild animal.
Fund for medical expenses
Brittany Verschoor set up a GoFundMe account for her father to help with his medical expenses. Anything above and beyond what her father needs to cover his medical costs will go to an animal rescue in her father’s area.
As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, just over $3,395 has been raised toward the $10,000 goal.
Many donations came attached with pictures from other “fur baby” owners, thanking Steve Verschoor for his heroic actions.
“My dad is a humble man who works hard, and doesn’t ask for anything,” Brittany said. “He is a bartender at the Cheescake Factory and lives on his tips.”
Read or Share this story: http://azc.cc/2uGFPyX