A raccoon attack on a young child last week prompted officials in a Massachusetts community to remind people to keep a close eye on children and pets.
The warning came when Arlington Police Chief Julie Flaherty and Health and Social Services Director Christine Bonjourno announced that the raccoon had a positive rabies result.
On October 14, at about 4:15 p.m., police were called to a house on Fountain Road to report that a small child had been bitten by an animal, police said.
When officers arrived, they saw a child under the age of 5 being placed in an ambulance and treated by members of the Arlington Fire Department along with the child̵7;s mother.
“During the on-site investigation, it was established that the child was in the yard of the family home and was attacked by a large raccoon,” authorities said. “The child’s mother stopped the attack, was able to chase the animal away and called 911. The child was bitten and scratched by a raccoon.”
The child was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital and is expected to be well.
Officers were unable to find the raccoon involved in the attack on the child during the first search.
A little over an hour later, officers found a raccoon acting “sluggishly” and believed that it was the animal that attacked the child.
Additional officers responded to the area, and the raccoon was humanely euthanized.
An animal control officer in Arlington later responded to the scene, collected the animal and took it to a state rabies testing facility. The Arlington Department of Health and Human Services said in Massachusetts that they had confirmed that the raccoon had tested positive for rabies, authorities said.
“While we don’t think there is any danger to the community right now, we wanted to report the incident to residents so they can be vigilant about protecting their loved ones and pets,” Flaherty said. “Our thoughts are with the family and the young child who went through this terrible ordeal.”