ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The 9-year-old student bitten eight times by a raccoon is in good spirits and is ready to return to class, but needs 28 shots.
The girl is a student at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.
City of St. Augustine Fire Department Lt. Carlos Aviles said the girl, who is deaf, was leaving dance practice, escorted by FSDB staff members, when the animal attacked her just after 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
She had bite marks on her hands and toes, and was taken to Flagler Hospital. She was released Tuesday night and will have ongoing treatment at the school's facility.
She is reportedly doing fine after the incident.
"She's a trooper," FSDB President L. Daniel Hutto said this morning.
The girl will undergo a routine series of 28 injections, because officials are working under the assumption that the raccoon was rabid.
She has already had the first of the injections.
School officials set up traps around the campus, and discovered one trapped raccoon this morning before classes began.
The school will check the traps every hour and keep them set up overnight.
State law requires the captured raccoons to be euthanized, according to St. Johns County Animal Control Director Paul Studivant, because relocating them increases the risk of spreading rabies.
Studivant also said the raccoons that are captured will not be tested, because one in three will test positive for rabies; raccoons are the top carriers in the state.
As for the individual raccoon that attacked the girl, Studivant said the likelihood of catching and identifying it is "slim to none," but its aggressive nature toward its victim "showed all signs" of it having rabies.
First Coast News