Woman treated after attack by javelina herd

Posted at 8:35 PM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-07 07:46:35-04

The Arizona Game and Fish Department says a woman suffered several bite marks after being attacked by wild animals last weekend.

Officials say a woman was walking her dogs on Saturday, April 30 when a herd of javelina came out of a nearby wash. The animals cross the road and attacked her and her dogs unprovoked, according to a news release from the department.

The woman said she lost her footing and fell to the ground as two javelina began biting her. A neighbor driving by and her husband arrived at about the same time and were able to free the woman from the javelina and get her into her house. Two to four other javelina continued to chase and attack her dogs, authorities said.

The woman was bitten several times to her upper body and neck area. Some of her injuries required surgery and she is receiving treatment for rabies as a precaution. Officials said to protect her privacy they are not releasing her name or a more specific location of where the incident happened. 

"We are fortunate that the attack was not worse," said AZGFD spokeswoman Amy Burnett. "Attacks by javelina on humans are rare, but when they happen, public safety is our main concern." 

Officials said both dogs were injured but are expected to recover. One needed extensive surgery and the other was hurt but escaped, only to be found by neighbors after the attack.

Wildlife officials interviewed neighbors and discovered two people living near where the attack happened had been feeding javelina and coyotes over the previous several months. One neighbor said the feedings were so regular that some felt trapped inside their own home.

Six javelina were killed from the area due to public safety concerns, according to the release.

The javelina will be tested for rabies and other diseases that are potentially transmittable to humans.

Officials reminded people it is illegal to feed wild animals other than birds and tree squirrels, and to maintain a safe distance when encountering wildlife.

When encountering a javelina, Burnett said to take advantage of the animal's poor eyesight: make yourself as big as possible, clap hands to try and scare it off.