5-Year-Old Has 16 Stitches After Unknown Animal Attack in Detroit Lakes

In just seconds, that small encounter turned dangerous as Xavier ripped the animal off his face

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — On Friday, one family from Detroit Lakes was expecting a new baby…but they weren’t expecting one of their other kids to end up in the hospital.

The boy now has 16 stitches because of the wild animal.

5–year–old Xavier Garza was outside doing what he does best…playing.

What did it look like?

“Black,” Xavier said.

How big can you show me with your hands?  Was there anything else that you remember about it, what it looked like?

“Yellow eyes,” Xavier said.

That’s when he saw, what he thought was a cat…

“Just staring at me,” Xavier said.

In just seconds, that small encounter turned dangerous as Xavier ripped the animal off his face.

How did you get it off of you

“I pushed it off. It went mad,” Xavier said.

Who was with you?

“My brother,” Xavier said.

Did your brother see it also?

“Mhm that’s when my brother see it on my face,” Xavier said.

Now police are saying what attacked him wasn’t a cat.

“Officers look at the injuries the child had and they didn’t believe those injuries were consistent with what they’ve seen before with cat scratches or cat bites,” said Chief Steve Todd, with the Detroit Lakes Police Department.

Professionals believe it’s more likely a distempered raccoon or a fisher, and neighbors agree.

“A resident approached and informed them they’d seen a fisher walking right in that area,” Todd said.

The city has set up traps like these around the area where the boy got hurt but they say there is no guarantee they will find the exact animal that caused these injuries.

“If we do catch a fisher in that neighborhood how were we to know that that was the same animal?” Todd said.

In order to keep Xavier safe, he is getting all needed vaccines for rabies.

The public says they feel safer knowing the traps are out there.

“Two locations that it was reported at, we set it out in those neighborhoods,” said Brad Green, the Public Works Director with Detroit Lakes.

Xavier’s older brother realized the animal had a missing chunk from his ear, hoping to be able to identify it, if caught.

Many say this is an opportunity to teach kids about the dangers of nature.

“The wild animals get very protected with their babies, we don’t know if this was the case with this one but any animal you’re not familiar with please stay away,” Green said.

Reminding parents to keep a lookout on their kiddos.

“Moms and dads to talk to their kids about leaving animals alone that they are not familiar with,” Todd said.

For Xavier, that lesson has been learned.

What did mommy and daddy teach you now ever since this happened.

“Uhm no touch animals,” Xavier said.

If you happen to see an animal in a trap, you are asked to contact the city so they can remove it without any more danger.

Categories: Community, Crime, Health, Local News, Minnesota News