The attack on a young raccoon boy last week prompted officials in a Massachusetts community to remind people to take good care of 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 was positive for rabies.
Police were called to a home on Fountain Road on Oct. 14 around 4:15 p.m. for a report that a child had been bitten by an animal, police said.
When officers arrived, they found the child, who was less than 5 years old, being placed in an ambulance and being given medical care by members of the Arlington Fire Department along with the child’s mother.
“An investigation into the scene determined that the child was in the back of the family home and was attacked by a large raccoon,” authorities said. “The child’s mother stopped the attack and chased the animal and called 911. The child sustained a bite and scratch from the raccoon.”
The child was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital and is expected to be well.
Officers could not find the raccoon involved in the child attack in their initial search.
Just over an hour later, officials found a raccoon acting “sluggish” and believed it was the animal that attacked the child.
Additional officers responded to the area and the raccoon was humane.
The Arlington Animal Control Officer then responded to the scene, collected the animal and took it to a state testing facility 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 has tested positive for rabies, authorities said.
“While we do not believe there is a current danger in the community, we want to notify residents about this incident so that they can be vigilant about protecting their loved ones and pets,” Flaherty said. “Our thoughts go out to the family and to the child who has to suffer this terrible ordeal.”