Rabid otter attacks man, 96

VENICE -- An rabid otter emerged from the brush and attacked a 96-year-old man early this morning, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office reported.

The victim was walking in the 300 block of Venice East Boulevard 4:23 a.m. today when he was attacked, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Two witnesses saw the victim on the ground being attacked by the otter and used garden tools to fend it off. They called 9-1-1, according to a sheriff's report.

Both the victim and one of the witnesses who came to his rescue, a 36-year-old man, went to the Venice emergency room for treatment of injuries. The other rescuer was uninjured.

The witnesses thought they had killed the animal, but it began to retreat to the brush and had to be put down as dangerous to the public.

Animal Services responded and took the animal for its investigation. A rabies came back positive.

Anyone with information is asked to call animal services at (941) 861-9500.