The attack on a small child by a raccoon last week prompted community officials in Massachusetts to remind people to keep an eye on children and pets.
The warning came when Arlington Police Chief Julie Flaherty and Director of Health and Human Services Christine Bongiorno announced that the raccoon tested positive for rabies.
Police were called to a house on Fountain Road on October 1
When the officers arrived, they saw the child, who was under 5, being put in an ambulance and assisted by members of the Arlington Fire Department with the child’s mother.
“An on-site investigation established that the baby was in the backyard of the family’s home and was attacked by a large raccoon,” authorities said. “The baby’s mother stopped the attack and managed to chase the animal away and called the emergency health services. The baby was bitten and scratched by the raccoon.”
The baby was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital and should be fine.
The agents were unable to find the raccoon involved in the attack on the baby in their initial search.
A little over an hour later, the agents spotted a raccoon acting “lethargic” and believed it was the animal that attacked the baby.
Other officers responded to the area and the raccoon was subjected to humanitarian euthanasia.
The Arlington Animal Control Officer later 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 was informed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that it confirmed that the raccoon had tested positive for rabies, authorities said.
“While we don’t believe there is any danger to the community, we wanted to inform residents of this incident so they can be vigilant about the protection of their loved ones and pets,” Flaherty said. “Our thoughts go out to the family and the child who went through this horrible ordeal.”