Fla. mom tackles otter to save teenage daughter, dog from attack

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA/CNN) - An otter in Florida learned not to mess with mom when it attacked a 17-year-old and her dog and got thrown out of the family’s house for its trouble.

Gwyn Ewert, 17, got a rabies shot the day she was bitten in the leg by an otter at her family's Lakeland, Florida, home and a booster shot a few days later. (Source: Casina Ewert/WFLA/CNN)

Gwyn Ewert, 17, let the family’s French bulldog, Scooter, out on the back porch just before dawn Tuesday in Lakeland, Florida. She panicked when she heard fighting coming from the porch.

“I sprinted to the backdoor, and I was like, ‘Scooter!’ All I saw was like a big, black ball, just all over the place. So, he stumbled in the door, and I tried to shut it as fast as possible but then the otter got stuck,” Gwyn Ewert said.

The commotion woke the whole house, and Gwyn’s mother, Casina Ewert, burst in, tackling the otter.

"He and the dog are in a big, tangled tumbleweed, spinning around," Casina Ewert said. “I snatched it by the tail, and then, I held it up like a prize. The otter’s going crazy. It was clawing at me and grabbing on to the backs of the furniture in my house.”

Casina Ewert tossed the otter back outside before discovering it had bitten her daughter in the leg.

The Ewerts took a trip to the hospital, where the teenager got a rabies shot that day and a booster shot Friday. Scooter had received his rabies shot a few days before the attack. He was put under quarantine as a precaution.

Casina Ewert realizes tackling an aggressive otter in her home may not have been the smart thing to do, but her motherly instinct took over.

“It’s really not heroic. There actually was no thought process. Just run in, jump on the otter,” she said. “I think life is full of surprises, and you should just be ready for whatever.”

It is unknown whether the otter that attacked Gwyn Ewert and Scooter has rabies because it has not been caught, but experts say its behavior was definitely abnormal.

“Any time an otter’s onshore going for a human, there’s something not right. Usually, they see you, they’re gone,” said Dustin Hooper, an animal trapper and owner of All Creatures Wildlife Control.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set up traps to catch the animal. The agency says it received reports of an aggressive otter attacking another dog as well.

Copyright 2020 WFLA, Casina Ewert, Chelsea Pollard via CNN. All rights reserved.