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Mystery animal attacks 5-year-old boy in Detroit Lakes

The gashes on the boy's face are not believed to be from a cat.

A 5-year-old boy in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, suffered deep gashes to his face when he was attacked by a mystery animal.

Detroit Lakes police were called to the emergency room on Friday after Xavier Garza was injured by an unknown creature, which inflicted significant cuts to his face. 

"So people in the DL area watch your kids. I live in town and a strange cat did this to Xavier right outside my garage last night just by trying to pick it up," the boy's mother, Rachel Fick, wrote on Facebook. "It was black with an ear cut in half. Xavier is doing ok, I'm thankful it wasn't in the eye."

The child told police that he tried to pick up what he thought was a large black cat when it attacked.

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The injuries to his face were so severe that police took photos, and asked a veterinarian and officials from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to see if they had any idea what kind of animal could've done so much damage. 

Despite his mother's guess that it was a cat, experts say that this is unlikely, with the more likely attacker being a fisher or "distempered raccoon." 

According to the DNR, a fisher is a member of the weasel family and resembles a large mink. 

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Officers searched the area and a local resident said they'd seen a fisher in the neighborhood the day after the incident, specifically at Main Street and West Avenue in Detroit Lakes. 

But to further add mystery over the attacker's identity, Valley News Live reports that Garza's brother, who was there when it happened, has been shown photos of fishers and said they don't resemble what he saw. 

Searches for the aggressive animal have come up empty, so police are urging parents to instruct children not to approach any unknown animals.

If they come into contact with one, they're advised to call the Detroit Lakes Police Department or Public Works.

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