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Franklin man attacked by river otter

Submitted Thu, 09/13/2012 - 7:45am by Andy Alm

Pennsylvania Game Commission officials are investigating reports that a river otter attacked a fisherman in Franklin earlier this week.  Wildlife Conservation Officer Ronda Bimber tells us the attack happened at about two in the afternoon on Tuesday.  Bimber says a 27-year-old Franklin man was fishing near the junction of French Creek and the Allegheny River, just off Ninth Street next to Franklin’s Riverfront Park, when an otter began swimming directly at him.

Attempts to discourage the animal by repeatedly slapping the water with his fishing rod were unsuccessful, and the otter began biting and scratching.  Bimber says the man suffered five bites to one leg and one on his big toe, as well as numerous scratches on his legs.  The incident ended when Bimber says the man kicked the otter in the head.

The man received medical treatment after the attack.

It’s not clear what provoked the attack, and Bimber says Game Commission officials are checking the area.  Anyone noticing suspicious behavior by river otters is asked to report what they see to the Game Commission by calling 814-432-3187.