Man goes through Rabies Treatment after Big Cat Attack

By Stephen McLamb

MARSHALL COUNTY, AL (WAFF) – A Marshall County man is recovering after what he describes as a big cat attack earlier in the week.

Frank Harmes lives in the rural part of the county and says it wasn’t a bob cat but something bigger that attacked him. Some of his neighbors backed up his claim.

Harmes says he was taking a stray dog through the woods to a neighbor’s home near Union Grove when he came in contact with a big cat.

“It was a Florida panther. The tan ones that have the white spots around the whiskers,” said Harmes.

He says that’s when the animal attacked him.

“He come up close to me so I kicked at it trying to get him to back up. That’s when he got my leg,” he remembered.

Harmes says the cat ripped through his coveralls, some underclothing, and did damage to his leg. He fought back with a knife and stabbed it.

“He turned around and I stabbed him again in the rear quarter and then he finally left me alone,” Harmes said.

When Harmes got back home, his mother said she urged him to seek medical attention.

“You could see the bruising and it was getting worse and so he went to the emergency room,” said Viola Harmes.

Neighbors also backed up Harmes’ claim of big cats in the area. Douglas Mason claims he saw a tan cougar on his back porch a year ago.

“There was a black one with it and it was eating cat food too,” said Mason.

Mason’s relatives claim they got a picture of a dark gray cat about four years ago on a hunting camera. Harmes says people should be warned and says from now on he’ll be going into the woods only when he is armed.

Because he believes the animal was sickly, Harmes plans to go through the rabies treatments.

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