MAITLAND, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Authorities say a Florida police officer fatally shot a rabid otter several days after people reported attacks.
The Maitland police officer put the sick animal down last week near Lake Lily. Officers say the animal appeared to be seizing and shaking. A report says the officer shot the otter twice, killing it. Orange County Animal Services confirmed the otter had rabies Saturday.
Police say a visitor at a nearby park reported being attacked Jan. 7, followed by two more attacks the next day. Several days later, police responded to a home where someone reported a sick otter in their backyard.
Maitland resident Ann-Christine Langselius said she was attacked by an otter with rabid behaviors. Her attack happened at Lake Lilly during her morning run. She thinks it's the same animal that was shot and killed.
"It just came right at me," she said. "It really went for an attack. It was coming really fast and also making some noises. I thought that it was not healthy."
That aggressive otter cut both her legs with its claws and sank its teeth into her right ankle.
"I was bleeding quite a bit," Langselius explained.
Officials say the victims are undergoing post-exposure vaccinations. Florida Fish and Wildlife officers will continue to monitor the lake and are getting traps set in place. They are warning visitors to not feed or approach any wild animals.
Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and can be fatal to warm-blooded animals and people.
Some information taken from the Associated Press.