A Massachusetts community official reminded people to keep an eye on children and pets after an attack on a small child by a North American raccoon last week.
The warning came as Arlington Police Chief Julie Flaherty and Health and Human Services Director Christine Bongiyorno announced that the North American raccoon bear was positive for rabies.
Police were called to a home on Fountain Road on Oct. 14 to report that a small child had been bitten by an animal, police said.
When officers arrived, they found the child, who was less than 5 years old, was placed in an ambulance and given medical care by members of the Arlington Fire Department along with the child’s mother.
An on-site investigation determined the child was in the backyard of the family home and was attacked by a large North American raccoon, officials said. “The baby’s mother stopped the attack and was able to chase the animal and call 911. The baby had to endure bites and scratches from a North American raccoon.”
The baby was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital and is expected to recover.
Officers in their initial search could not find the North American raccoon tail involved in the attack on the child.
Just over an hour later, authorities located a North American raccoon that pretended to be “dull” and believed it was the animal that attacked the baby.
Additional officials responded to the area and the North American raccoon was humanized.
Arlington Animal Control Officer Fees then responded to the scene, collected the animal and brought it to a state testing site to test for rabies. Officials said the Arlington Department of Health and Human Services was informed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that they had confirmed a positive test for rabies for the North American raccoon.
“While we do not believe there is any current danger in the community, we want to inform residents about this incident so that they remain vigilant to protect their loved ones and pets.” “Our thoughts go out to the family and the young child who had to endure this horrible ordeal.”