MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota 3-year-old got quite the scare Thursday when a raccoon attacked her at her Austin home.

Over the last two weeks, the animal known for its nocturnal ways has been making more and more daytime appearances in that area. Concern is mounting that the animals could be carrying a deadly disease.

It made Heather Stahl want to keep her daughter Chloe close for good reason. Heather won’t forget what happened Tuesday morning when Chloe walked down the steps of their front porch.

“I heard her scream, and I came out and there was a raccoon,” Heather said.

The normally nocturnal animal bit down on the girls arm, breaking the skin, after darting out from under the porch.

“It was, like, up on her like a dog,” Heather said.

That unusual behavior is often a sign of rabies or distemper. Videos on YouTube show its effect on the animal.

“It’s very dangerous, obviously, this is very concerning to us,” said Terese Amazi, the Mower County Sheriff.

Local authorities think it’s a problem showing up throughout the Austin area. In recent weeks, there have been at least seven cases of raccoons acting strangely.

“These animals are sick…they’re lethargic, almost drunk acting,” Amazi said. “[They’re] coming out during the daytime, which is not usual raccoon behavior.”

The raccoon that bit Chloe was captured and sent for testing. On Thursday the family found out Chloe wouldn’t need further treatment.

“We were very lucky,” Heather said. “There was no rabies or distemper or anything like that.”


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