It was just about the worst thing Agnes Buckley can recall ever happening to her in all her 83 years. And, she said, it happened on her day off from work, too.
About 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Mrs. Buckley said she heard some dogs barking outside her farmhouse in Poorhouse Road in Pisgah in Charles County, Md. Concerned that her poodle might be in a fight, she picked up a .22 caliber rifle loaded with blanks and went outside.
The dogs, she soon found, had cornered a beaver. Mrs. Buckley fired one shot in the air to break up the pack and then reached for her own dog.
At that point the frightened beaver, which weighed about 25 pounds, lunged at Mrs. Buckley and began to bite her, causing her to fall into a roadsied ditch.
According to the Charles County Sheriff's Department, the beaver bit Mrs. Buckley 11 times on the right leg, five times on the left leg and once on the right thumb - all in plain view of the road and several passing cars.
Finally, Carol Bramum, of Marbury, stopped to help Mrs. Buckley fight the beaver off while a second woman, Susan Goster, of Washington, contacted the sheriff's department, a deputy sheriff said.
It took one deputy, an animal warden, and the Maryland Natural Resources Police to capture the frantic animal, which tried to escape through a culvert underneath the road. The State Highway Department was even called in to cut down a tree that police used to block one side of the culvert and force the animal out.
Mrs. Buckley, meanwhile was taken to Physicians Memorial Hospital in La Plata where she received 100 stitches for her wounds and was released.
The beaver fared less well - he was captured and then executed by the natural resources police. His body has been sent to a State Health Department laboratory in Baltimore to be tested for rabies.