Father shoots otter after it
attacks 7-year-old boy
Originally ran here
"Boy recovers after otter attack"
"7-year-old gets 14 stitches, undergoes treatment for rabies exposure after
animal chased down, bit him"
By Paula Reed Ward,
Morris News Service
Augusta Chronicle, Friday, July
SAVANNAH - A 7-year-old boy was attacked by an otter this week at a Tybee Island
The boy suffered one serious bite and has begun
treatment for potential rabies exposure, according to the Chatham County Health
Steven Rousakis, the grandson of former
Savannah Mayor John Rousakis, was fishing with friends on a dock in the Back
River about 8 p.m. Tuesday when they noticed an otter swimming in the river. The
otter went up on the dock and stole bait fish out of a bucket, said Diane
Rousakis, Steven's mom.
''Everybody thought it was neat and started
taking pictures,'' she said.
A few minutes later, Steven walked past the
bucket, and the female otter attacked. She chased the boy down the dock and
grabbed his leg, causing a 3-inch gash that needed 14 stitches.
''My son was getting ready to jump into the
river,'' Ms. Rousakis said. ''Thank goodness he didn't.''
Bennett Bacon, 14, who was on the dock at the
same time, kicked the otter, grabbed Steven and swung him around to get the
animal off. The otter went back in the water but returned, Bennett said. He then
hit it with a casting net, sending it into the river again.
''This otter was particularly vicious,'' said
Sharon Varn, a rabies-prevention specialist at the health department. ''It
chased the boy, retreated and attacked again.''
About 30 minutes after the attack, the otter
chased more people off the dock, including the Bacons' dog, Sticks, a Boykin
spaniel. At that point, Bennett's dad shot the otter. Its head was also cut off,
Ms. Rousakis said.
It is possible, Ms. Varn said, the otter was
not rabid and instead was protecting offspring that might have been under the
''She was taking the fish under the dock, like
she was hoarding it or hiding it,'' Ms. Rousakis said.
The health department has asked the Department
of Natural Resources to check if the otter had any pups near the site of the
Laura Kovalek, a sea-otter aquarist at the
Monterrey Bay Aquarium in California, said she was not surprised by the attack.
''You don't normally have otters running around
attacking people,'' Ms. Kovalek said. ''But the common perception is that
they're playful ... and they're not playful animals.''
Normally, otters will not approach people, Ms.
Kovalek said, but they will bite if they feel threatened or their young are in
''To me, that's very normal behavior,'' she
Ms. Varn, who expects to have the results of
the rabies test back today, said this otter was aggressive.
''It certainly displayed symptoms and behavior
that a rabid animal would have,'' she said.
In recent weeks, otters from Talahi and Oatland
islands have tested positive for rabies. There have also been two otter attacks
at a lagoon in The Landings. Two of three otters there were captured but tested
negative for rabies.
Steven started treatment Wednesday morning,
receiving a total of seven injections. If the otter tests negative, Steven will
stop treatment. If not, he'll have to continue receiving injections every few
days. But for now, he's doing well, his mom said.
''He's a little trooper,'' she said. ''His
advice is to stay away from wild animals.''
NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.
Section 107, this material is distributed, without profit, for research or
educational purposes. We do our best, as well, to give credit to the original
news source who published these Guns Save Lives stories out of respect and
appreciation for their willingness to spread the word that Guns Save Lives --
and when an original link is available, we ALWAYS send all our visitors to read
the original article on the original site where it was posted. God Bless the
Americans that publish these stories - for assisting Americans in hearing the
truth about guns saving lives.