Wednesday, November 21, 2007

(LOCAL NEWS) Possibly Rabid Otters On The Attack In Merritt Island

One otter has been caught, but there may be more out there. Residents have reported seeing the sick otters on their yard, even on their docks and the river otters come from either the Indian or Banana rivers.
If there is a hero in the rabid otter tale, it has to be Taz, the 10-year-old Westie who fought off one frothing otter to keep it away from the Linnett family.
"He was bit right under here, right under the mouth area," explained Mrs. Linnett.
Those who watched the fight said the two animals rolled around like two balls of fur. The dog came out bloody, but Animal Control got the otter.
"Took 'em a while. He was mean," Linnett said.

Just a day earlier, without the protection of a pet, Patrick Martin's wife was bitten twice.
"Noticed, she told me, its cute little face and how innocent it seemed to be. Then while she was looking at it, it bit her again," Patrick said.
The normally timid animal rarely shows itself along the river banks. Most see otters only in zoos or a show at SeaWorld, though they are not uncommon in many Central Florida lakes.
Animal Control officers still aren't sure if one or more sick otters are wandering the shores, so residents are warned to watch their pets and their backs. As for Taz, he's up to date on his rabies shots, but still under owner quarantine for 45 days.
"Taz is still alive, so I think he won," Linnett said.

The necropsy on the captured otter will take days or even weeks before determining if it actually has rabies. In the meantime, residents are going to keep a lookout for other sick otters.
Otters may look cute, but Eyewitness News learned attacks aren't unheard of. In April 2004, Blue Springs State Park in Volusia County was closed to swimmers because a rabid otter attacked eight swimmers. The otter was caught and killed. Last year in Boca Raton, an otter dragged a full-grown black lab into the water and attacked it. The owner punched the otter to save the dog.

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