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Wild javelina attacks Tucson woman at her home

The warning she has for the community
Posted at 9:20 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-21 00:20:47-04

An earlier version of this story listed an incorrect weight for the javelina.

A Tucson woman attacked by a javelina and says she’s lucky that she was able to escape. Kelly Relich has lived in her Hidden Valley home at the 8500 block of East Solar Drive for 23 years. She says a simple trip to take out the trash took a dangerous turn.

On Tuesday night at around 6:30 p.m., Kelly stepped outside to move some trash bins. That everyday chore suddenly turned into a two-minute attack by what she says was a single 35-to-55-pound javelina that came out of nowhere.

"By the time I knew there was an issue it was way too late. He hit the trash barrel and sent me, and the trash barrel flying and then immediately started lunging at me,” Relich said.

Relich says the javelina chased her down and bit her leg. She was able to escape and run to her front gate to safety. However, the attack didn’t end there, the animal continued to stalk Kelly in her front yard.

During the encounter, she also realized that she was locked out of her front door. She continued to scream for help, but the javelina would not leave and held its ground for about 20 minutes.

“I couldn’t get up, because he kept circling around and he was a lot faster than you would expect. I finally managed to shove him with the trash barrel, and I scrambled up and ran into my courtyard that has a little gate. He just kept pacing back and forth and back and forth and every once in a while, he would throw his body against the gate. I was scared to death. He pulled up my solar lights, he pulled them out of the ground and was chomping on them,” Relich said.

A neighbor finally heard Kelly scream for help and called 911. Now she's taking rabies treatments and is hoping for the best. Kelly says she plans to double check her surroundings and only take out the trash in the middle of the day. She also has a word of caution for anyone who’s living in a remote area.

"I’m on antibiotics, I got a tetanus shot, I have to take the rabies vaccine, they gave me the first series and I have three more series I have to do. The scariest thing is to be very careful if you’re walking a dog, because they have a tendency to not like dogs and if you see one don’t approach it,” Relich said.

Shawndrea Thomas is an anchor and investigative reporter for KGUN 9. Shawndrea is living her dream as a journalist who’s passionate about making a difference. Share your story ideas and important issues with Shawndrea by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.