LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) - A frantic 911 call makes it clear that an elderly man who said his wife was attacked by a wild animal in Lauderhill believed from the start that the creature was a bobcat.

The panic in Rupert Fray’s voice is palpable in the call he made just after the incident, at around 5 a.m., Friday.

“911, it’s an emergency … a big bobcat bite on my wife, and I tried to rescue … I fall on my hip,” he told the dispatcher.

Officials said Rupert, 71, and his wife, 85-year-old Eslyn Fray, were taking an early morning walk around The Greens of Inverrary apartment complex, near Northwest 44th Street and Inverrary Drive, when they were attacked.

Eslyn was bitten multiple times. She suffered puncture wounds to her face and arms and lost part of her finger.

“She had bites all over the hands, both hands, face, lips, everywhere there were bites,” said Howard Fray, the victim’s brother.

Rupert, who had recently undergone open-heart surgery, fell down trying to protect his wife.

When the dispatcher asked for the couple’s address, he replied, “The address, we are on the floor, on the ground … inside the exit gate. Inside.”

“You’re at the northeast exit gate?” asked the dispatcher.

“Yeah, the exit gate. Please, right now … bite her bad. I can’t walk up,” said Rupert.

Rescue crews transported the couple to Broward Health Medical Center. Neighbors said Eslyn remains in a rehab facility, and her husband is under the care of doctors.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers combed the area for evidence of a bobcat.

“We have no confirmation that it was a bobcat. Not sure exactly what the animal was,” said Lauderhill Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Levy.

Bobcats are native to Florida and tend to be elusive unless they’re sick or injured.

“They are pretty adamant that it was a bobcat, and when I say ‘they,’ the husband and wife are pretty adamant that a bobcat attacked the lady,” said Levy.

Neighbors said they are still on their guard.

“We’re not going to go in the back,” said Nydia Velazquez. “We’re not going back there, because we don’t know if they might come out in broad daylight.”

FWC investigators are doing everything they can to determine whether or not this was a bobcat. No sighting of a bobcat has been reported since the incident.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox