A rabid otter bit a dog and a man last week in Jupiter, Florida. Officials are now cautioning residents in the area to avoid wildlife.
Otter with rabies attacks dog
According to WPTV, a river otter with rabies attacked a dog and a man on the 900 block of Marlin Drive. The man later took the dog to a veterinarian for treatment.
But these two weren’t the otter’s only victims. At a nearby pond, Joseph Scaglione was feeding the ducks. When the 74-year-old decided to go inside, however, he realized all the ducks were flying away. Upon turning around, he noticed the otter by the bank. He backed up slowly, still facing the otter, but the animal attacked.
“I backed up along the fence but when I started to close the gate, it charged, immediately attacking my legs,” Scaglione told WPTV. He suffered bite wounds on both arms and legs.
“I started to push it away, and it started to bite my hands,” Scaglione told WPTV. “One of the bites I have is on my pinkie and it ripped the nail off the pinkie. [It] looks like the tooth went completely through my finger.”
Scaglione must receive shots for rabies exposure. He is also seeing a hand surgeon to determine the extent of the damage.
Authorities capture rabid otter
An officer from Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control responded to a call about the otter around 11:18 a.m. The animal was in a driveway, trapped under a recycling bin. The animal control officer successfully captured the otter with a net. Then, they transferred the otter to a carrier.
According to a report from the agency, the 3-year-old otter was behaving abnormally, and in a hyperactive way. It was biting the carrier and baring its teeth. Health officials tested the otter for rabies, and the test came back positive.
Rabies can be fatal to both dogs and humans if untreated. But you can help prevent a tragedy. First, make sure to keep your pup’s rabies vaccinations up to date. Second, always leash your dog in public. This is especially crucial in areas where wildlife or feral cats live. Third, if a wild animal bites your dog, seek veterinary care immediately. Finally, notify your local animal control agency if you encounter a rabid animal. Do not attempt to capture the animal yourself. By taking these precautions, you can help stop the spread of rabies.