Comedian and talk show host Joan Rivers is enraged after a sneak attack left the back of her l8-year-old sable coat covered with red paint.

The ever feisty Rivers fought back. Not with her fists, but with her notoriously quick mouth.

Rivers told the New York Daily News Tuesday she was walking with a friend on Park Avenue when a woman tapped her on the shoulder saying, "Oh, you're bleeding on your back," and then ran away.

"I was going to punch her...but she was too much of a coward to stand on the street corner and fight me," said the feisty 60-year-old, five-foot, two-inch, slender Rivers, who described her assailant as "middle-aged, blond, chubby" and, for good measure, "quite homely."

Rivers also claimed the woman seemed to be wearing leather shoes and belt and assumed she was from the radical anti-fur group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals because, "What other kind of wackos go around doing that?" She also added, "PETA people are never good-looking."

PETA denied being involved. Group President Ingrid Newkirk told the Daily News, "It's not PETA's style," but took the publicity opportunity to blast Rivers for wearing fur. This, in turn, drew more retorts from the furious, fashionable blonde.

"Why don't they go do something important? They're not upset at the rat poison dogs are eating in Central Park. Don't go after middle-aged, affluent, white women, who are just minding their own business," said Rivers, who describes herself as an animal lover but reasons, "If an animal had to die to keep me warm for l8 years, it's okay."

After the assault, Rivers rushed into a nearby leather goods store to get help in attempting to clean off some of the paint from the coat, a gift from her late husband Edgar, which she says is her only fur.

She used her WOR-AM radio show to continue her tirade, challenging PETA to call in. Instead, however, she mainly heard from sympathetic fur wearers.

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