Officials: Otter that attacked Minneapolis girl won't be trapped, killed

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The otter that attacked a 12-year-old Minneapolis girl last weekend in Wisconsin won't be killed or removed from its habitat, the Pioneer Press reports.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says it won't issue permits allowing people to trap or shoot otter at the lake. Part of the DNR's concern is whether a trap would catch the specific otter responsible for the attack.

"Do we just catch an otter, or do we catch the otter that is a problem?" Wisconsin DNR Regional Warden Dave Zebro told the Pioneer Press. "There's a fairly healthy otter population along Bone Lake."

Rory Kliewer was scratched, bruised and bitten in an attack by an otter while swimming with some friends in Bone Lake near Luck, Wisconsin, Saturday.

“I got a glimpse of it after I kicked it off of me, and I was like, ‘Oh, that thing is sleek and brown,'” Kliewer told WCCO.

At first she thought it was a northern pike that was biting her, but soon realized it was an otter. The animal had climbed onto her back and was biting and clawing her head and face, according to the Minnesota Sporting Journal.

She managed to climb the rest of the way onto the dock and free herself from the otter, the site said. But the animal jumped onto the dock and chased the girl all the way to shore.

Kliewer told WCCO the otter was hissing while biting and clawing her, and some of the deepest gashes she received were around her midsection. She also received scratches to her face and ears.

The Pioneer Press previously reported the otter was estimated to be 3 1/2 feet long and weighed about 40 pounds.

The girl told the paper she remains "shaky" after the attack and doesn't know if she'll ever swim in a lake again.

Geriann Albers, an assistant furbearer biologist with the Wisconsin DNR, said otter attacks are rare, and the last attack she was aware of happened in Drummond in 2009. Albers noted that a disease like rabies could explain the otter's aggressive behavior, but they wouldn't be able to determine that unless the animal was caught and tested.

The Associated Press says as a precaution, Kliewer is receiving rabies shots.

Earlier this month, KOMO News in Seattle reported that a woman and her 8-year-old grandson were attacked and severely injured by an otter while swimming in a river in Washington.

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