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Rabid beaver chases children in Fairfax

Wednesday - 9/12/2012, 12:44pm  ET

beaver.jpg
The beaver jumped on this dock at the nature center. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

WASHINGTON (9:03 a.m.) - Another aggressive beaver has been reported in Fairfax County, this time chasing a group of children after leaping out of the water.

A beaver jumped out of the water late Saturday morning at the Hidden Pond Nature Center in Springfield and onto a dock, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. It was "seen acting aggressively and chasing the children," an FCPD release says.

Police say an animal control officer came to the scene, cleared the area and shot the beaver. Officials tested the beaver and learned Tuesday that it had rabies.

The children had just finished a fishing competition when they noticed the beaver swimming toward the dock. No one was bitten and there were no injuries.

Hannon Schutte, who was at the nature center with a child in a stroller Wednesday, was present when the beaver was shot. She says she didn't see it acting aggressively toward the children.

""My son and I were taking a nature walk and we walked past the animal control person who had a rifle ... The beaver was just sitting at the bottom of the bank, walking around, and after about five minutes she shot him," Schutte says.

Schutte says she doesn't want to avoid being out in nature after what she calls a rare occurrence.

"I'd hate to think of depriving my own child of an experience out of basic fear," she says.

The incident follows news last week of an 83-year-old woman who was attacked by a beaver while she was swimming in Lake Barcroft. The animal tested positive for rabies, and Animal Control officers euthanized it.

Police say the woman is home and undergoing treatment.

Police also were notified of a rabid raccoon spotted in the Lake Barcroft area on Sunday in the 6300 block of Lakeview Drive. They plan to canvas the area with educational flyers about rabies.

For more information on rabies, click here.

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CORRECTION (10:24 a.m.) - WTOP reported erroneously that the 83-year-old woman who was attacked by a beaver in Lake Barcroft tested positive for rabies. The beaver tested positive for rabies. The woman reportedly was being treated for rabies prevention.

WTOP's Neal Augenstein contributed to this report. Follow Neal and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)