Oh my goodness, who would have ever thought an otter would attack a dog, let alone a big dog??? Has anyone ever experienced such a thing?
West Boca woman jumps in canal to save dogs from rampaging otter
By Paola Iuspa-Abbott
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted August 4 2006
West Boca -- If you see a river otter scampering your way, run ... and fast.
Leah Vanon learned that lesson the hard way. She'd never heard of otters attacking animals or people standing by a canal. So when an otter swam toward her across a canal, climbed a precipitous slope, grabbed her yellow Labrador, Jasmine, by its nose and dragged it into the water, she started to scream, yelling for her dog to swim toward the shore.
"It was attacking her to death," said Vanon, who lives in the Mediterrania community west of Boca Raton. "It wasn't going to stop until it killed her."
Vanon, a petite mom of 11-year-old twins, was hardly able to get the critter's teeth off the lab's face when the otter grabbed Vanon's tiny toy fox terrier, Wiley.
She slid down the bank of the canal and waded out into the water.
With murky water almost up to her waist, Vanon reached Wiley, 3, and began punching the otter in the face until it let go and retreated.
"I am glad my children were not here," she said. Her kids were attending summer camp and missed their mom's fight with the fur-covered visitor.
Vanon often walks her dogs along the mowed bank of the canal near her home on Powerline Road between West Palmetto Park and Glades roads. Around 5 p.m. Tuesday she saw four otters in the water. She stopped to watch. After all, the aquatic mammals are cute, and she rarely catches a glance of them.
"I watched them before, but they've never been aggressive," said Vanon, who has been living along the canal for five years.
She never heard a neighbor complain about the otters' behavior.
Jasmine and Wiley suffered puncture wounds and scratches but didn't need stitches, said Dr. Nicholas Garrick, who treated them at the VCA Boca Del Mar Animal Hospital.
He cleaned up their wounds, gave them rabies boosters and put them on antibiotics. Otters are not known for carrying rabies, a viral disease that affects the nervous system of mammals.
For Garrick, the pair were his first otter-attack victims.
Otters live year-round in fresh water such as lakes, ponds, canals, rivers and marshes. But they become more visible during the summer, when they breed and take their young out to teach them to look for food, said David Hitzig, executive director of the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter.
Hitzig thinks the otter probably was being territorial. "Maybe the dogs surprised the babies and mom went into defensive mode," he said. "Otters are curious creatures but never make contact."
HOLY CRAP! Thank God she was able to save them!!!
"Each is a creature of Earth and is entitled to reside on it with dignity"
OMG! I can't even imagine. She was very brave.
WOW! She's obviously a "dog person" since she got into the water and saved her dogs! So glad she was able to save them.
We were at a lake with beavers, and they were swimming close to the shore and slapping their tails hard so scare us off... so we left pretty quickly! No way I was letting little CoCo near them!
~Jo & CoCo
I would have been petrified!!! She was pretty damn brave to go in that water
~Abby, Molly, and Penny (the honorary lab)
if you really think about it- i think we would all do the same thing-protect our babies
Yes, we would - not stopping to think that there could very well be gators lurking there, as well!Originally Posted by Wendy B.
When I lived in Florida we used to see otters all the time. There were certain areas where they'd make slides down the banks into the canals. They'd scamper up the bank and slide down, just like kids, you could almost hear them laughing. They were a real delight to watch, but if we so much as got out of the vehicle they'd hit the water and disappear. Never in a million years would I ever dream one would actually come up on the bank and attack a dog, especially one as large as a Lab!
Jackie, Champ, and Buddy
When we lived in Fla, I had one swimming with my lab. I never dreamed it would be aggressive!
Beavers will definitely "attack". Happened to my neighbor's dog who got just a little too close to the beaver. He need stitches in several places but was okay otherwise.Originally Posted by CoCosMom