The attack on a young child by a raccoon last week prompted Massachusetts community officials to remind people to keep a close eye on children and pets.
The warning comes in the form of Arlington Police Chief Julie Fleherty and Director of Health and Human Services Christine Bongiero testing rabies positive for rabies testing.
Police said police were called to a house on Fountain Road at 4:15 a.m. on October 14, where a small child was bitten by an animal.
When officers arrived, they saw a child under age 5 being placed in an ambulance and medical care given by members of the Arlington Fire Department along with the child’s mother.
“An on-scene investigation determined that the child was in the backyard of the family’s home and was attacked by a large raccoon,” officials said. “The child’s mother stopped the attack and was able to chase the animal and call 911. The child suffered bites and scratches from the raccoon.”
The child was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital and is expected to recover.
Officers were unable to find the raccoon involved in the attack on the child in its initial search.
Exactly an hour after this, the officers put up a taunt which was acting “sluggish” and believed that it was the animal that attacked the child.
Additional officers responded to the area and the raccoon was retaliated humanely.
An Arlington Animal Control officer later responded to the scene, collected the animal and brought it to a state testing site to test for rabies. The Arlington Department of Health and Human Services was notified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that they had confirmed that rabies tested positive for rabies, officials said.
“While we do not believe there is any current threat to the community, we wanted to inform residents about the incident so that they can be vigilant about protecting their loved ones and pets,” Fleherty said. “Our thoughts go out to the family and the young child, who had to suffer this horrific process.”