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The Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued a warning last week urging Anchorage residents to be on alert when roaming around lakes and rivers because a group of river otters have been responsible for several attacks on people and their dogs this month, CBS News reports.
The first encounter occurred on Sept. 1, when a 9-year-old was chased and bitten several times. The child was taken to the emergency room for a rabies shot. A woman was bitten this week while trying to rescue her dog at University Lake. On the same day as that incident, another dog was attacked at a different area of the lake.
The ADFG considers river otter attacks to be rare, but acknowledged there have been reports over the last several years. While there’s uncertainty regarding the makeup of the romp of otters behind these attacks, the department hasn’t ruled out the possibility that the same group is connected to all of these incidents.
“Because of the risk to public safety, efforts will be made to locate this group of river otters and remove them,” the ADFG said. “Care will be taken to only remove the animals exhibiting these unusual behaviors.”
The ADFG states that any otter “lethally removed” will be tested for rabies due to their “unusually aggressive behavior,” and while there have been no reported cases of the disease among river otters in the area in several years, the potential threat remains a cause for concern.