LAKE STEVENS, Wash. — A river otter suspected of attacking and seriously injuring an 8-year-old boy and his grandmother on the Pilchuck River has been shot and killed, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed Monday.
A large male otter was shot Sunday near Lake Connor Park in Lake Stevens, where the attack on the boy and his grandmother took place in late July, said DFW Capt. Alan Myers.
Three mother otters and their pups left the area after dogs were sent through, Myers said. But a male otter responded aggressively to the dogs and was shot after several attempts to traip him failed, Myers said.
Results of a necropsy are pending and may determine whether the animal had rabies or another illness that triggered the attacks.
TEXT AND VIDEO BELOW ARE FROM OUR AUG. 1 STORY
“I still can’t get his screams out of my head,” said Brice’s mother, Tabitha Moser. “Multiple lacerations all up and down, stitches on both of his arms and the back of his leg, and his whole thigh is wrapped up because it’s scratched completely.”
Brice is on heavy-duty antibiotics and rabies medication.
His family was out enjoying a sunny day along River Park. Brice played on the rope swing but out of nowhere the animal attacked.
“All of the sudden my son is screaming and he’s bobbing up and down in the water and as he comes up it’s all the way on top of his head,” said Tabitha.
But the otter’s attack didn’t end there. Brice’s grandmother, Lani, ran to help him but the animal turned on her: causing serious damage to the muscles around her eye.
“She’s good,” said family member Dean Springer. “Lani, she saved Brice’s life.”
“If she hadn’t taken the brunt of it, if he had taken on the wounds that my mom did, I don’t know that he could have made it through,” said Tabitha.
Wildlife officials don’t know if the river otter was protecting its pups or its food source – and so far they haven’t located a den.
Brice’s grandfather Dean worries about others getting hurt and spent Thursday searching for the otter.
“Hoping to see the shadow of the otter so we could get it,” said Dean.
Lani was released from Harborview and Brice is still at Providence for observation.
Now Tabitha wants others to be on the lookout for the vicious otter.
“This is their habitat, this is where they live,” she said. “Be a little more cautious. I wish I was yesterday.”
Wildlife officials don’t know if the otter is rabid and they won’t know until they trap it.
Neighbors say Thursday’s incident wasn’t the first attack; someone riding on an inner tube was also attacked by an otter two weeks ago.
WARNING: Some of the photos are graphic