The raccoon attack on a young child last week prompted community officials in Massachusetts to remind people to keep a close eye on children and pets.
The warning came when Arlington Police Chief Julie Flaherty and Director of Health and Humanitarian Services Christine Bongiorno announced that raccoon was positive for rabies.
Police were called to the home of Fountain Road on October 1
When police arrived, they saw the child, who was under 5 years old, be taken to an ambulance and given medical care by members of the Arlington Fire Department with the child’s mother.
“An on-site investigation found that the child was in the backyard of the family home and was attacked by a large raccoon,” authorities said. “The child’s mother stopped the attack and managed to chase away the animal and called 911. The child received bites and scratches from the raccoon.”
The child was taken to a hospital in Massachusetts and is expected to recover.
During their initial search, police were unable to find the raccoon involved in the attack on the child.
A little over an hour later, police found a raccoon that acted “lethargically” and believed the animal had attacked the child.
Additional staff responded to the area and the raccoon was humanely euthanized.
The Arlington Animal Control Officer then responded to the scene, collected the animal and took it to a state testing site to be tested for rabies. The Arlington Department of Health and Human Services has been notified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that they have confirmed that the raccoon had tested positive for rabies, authorities said.
“Although we do not believe that there is any current danger to the community, we wanted to inform residents about this incident so that they can be vigilant to protect their loved ones and pets,” Flaherty said. “Our thoughts are on the family and the young child who had to endure this terrible ordeal.”