WEYMOUTH, Mass. — A 2-year-old old has a few scratches but her family says she was a lot less scared than her mother and grandmother when a skunk attacked her in Weymouth.
A shimmering silver band-aid and a few cuts surrounding Fatima's leg, tell the story of a wild encounter right in the family's backyard.
"The children were playing in the yard and all of a sudden, Adam screamed and said there's a skunk and I look and I saw there was a skunk," the victim's mother, Mai Elkhouly, said.
Her daughter, Fatima, stood there as a skunk charged her.
"The skunk was right there, latched onto the baby. [I] Picked the baby up," she explained.
But the skunk wouldn't let go, they tried to distract it, hit it, Fatima even fought back.
They eventually freed Fatima from the skunk, and called 911. The skunk wouldn't leave and firefighters showed up within minutes to help.
"Firemen -- and he kept going after all of them repeatedly, they were spraying it in the face, and it would act stunned," Fatima's grandmother, Betty Bennette, said.
A deputy said they used an extinguisher and another tool and none of the firefighters were injured.
Because firefighters said the skunk was likely rabid, the animal was killed near the shed.
Fatima was given a shot and, depending on what rabies tests on the skunk reveal, she may need a series of others, according to her grandmother.
Fatima and her family are from Egypt, so they'd never seen a skunk, and her grandmother, who has lived here a while, says skunks haven't been a problem for her until now.
Rabies Prevention Tips (Against Potentially Rabid Wild or Domestic Animals)
- Report any animal that behaves oddly to your local animal control official or local police. Merely seeing a wild animal during daylight hours is not evidence of odd behavior as many animals will be out and about during the day.
- Teach children to never approach wildlife or any pets they don't know – even if they appear friendly.
- Enjoy wild animals from a respectful 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.
- If your pet is bitten or scratched by another animal, (wild or domestic) call your veterinarian to learn if the animal needs medical attention. Your local animal control officer may be able to catch the animal that scratched or bit your pet. Wild animals should be tested immediately.
- Keep your pets in a fenced yard or on a leash and do not let them roam freely or unsupervised.
- Don't feed or water your pets outside. Even empty bowls will attract wild and stray animals.
- Cap your chimney and repair holes in attics, cellars, and porches to help keep wild animals like bats and raccoons out of your home.
- Keep your garbage securely covered in barrels. Put out trash in barrels the morning of trash pickup, NOT the evening before. Open garbage will attract wild or stray animals.
- If you find a bat in a room with a sleeping person of any age or a pet, the bat should be safely captured and tested for rabies. Contact your local animal control officer, police or health official for assistance in getting the testing done. Information about how to safely capture a bat can be found in the document called Capturing a Bat: What You Need and How To Do It on MDPH's Rabies Website.
- Call your healthcare provider, your local board of health or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to help you determine if you need to be treated for a rabies exposure.
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