Arlington police issue safety reminder after young child attacked by rabid raccoon

ARLINGTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Arlington police are reminding residents to use caution after tracking down and euthanizing a large raccoon that tested positive for rabies after biting and scratching a young child on Wednesday, officials said.

The attack happened around 4:15 p.m. Wednesday while the young boy was playing in the family’s Fountain Road back yard.

The boy’s mother told police she stopped the attack and was able to chase the animal away before calling 911. The child suffered bites and scratches and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment. He is expected to be OK.

A little over an hour after the attack, officers located the raccoon near Buena Vista Road and euthanized it.

The Arlington Animal Control Officer subsequently responded to the scene and collected the animal and took it to a state testing site, where it was later confirmed to have rabies.

“While we do not believe there is any current danger to the community, we wanted to notify residents about this incident so they can be vigilant about protecting their loved ones and pets,” Chief Flaherty said.

The Arlington Police and Arlington Department of Health and Human Services shared a list of tips from the Mass. Department of Public Health to help prevent the spread of rabies:

  • Teach children to never approach animals they don’t know – even if they appear friendly.
  • Report any animal that behaves oddly to your local animal control official.
  • Enjoy wild animals from a distance. Do not keep wild animals as pets. This is against the law in Massachusetts.
  • Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies. By law, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be regularly vaccinated against rabies.
  • Don’t feed or water your pets outside. Even empty bowls will attract wild and stray animals.
  • Keep your pets in a fenced yard or on a leash and do not let them roam freely.
  • Keep your garbage securely covered. Open garbage will attract wild or stray animals.
  • Keep your chimney capped and repair holes in attics, cellars, and porches to help keep wild animals like bats and raccoons out of your home.


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