AUBURN, N.H. – A 6-year-old girl was bitten by a rabid groundhog while playing in a neighbor's yard.
State health officials on Wednesday confirmed the animal tested positive for rabies, the third in as many weeks to come in contact with humans.
The girl's name was not released, but the man who owns the property where she was bitten identified her as a neighborhood child. Joe DeWitt said the girl was one of three children playing on a swing set in his yard on Monday. He said the groundhog bit the child as she was walking by, then it ran away.
DeWitt grabbed a fishing net and rabbit cage and went after the groundhog. He tracked it down against a fence.
"I walked up to it and it charged at me and I'm an old fat man but I keep telling my wife I'm quick and nimble," DeWitt said.
"I could tell it was diseased. Its eyes were swollen shut. It looked like it had fly eggs in its ears and eyes. Its hair was mangy."
Last week a raccoon tested positive for rabies, a week before that a fox in Londonderry tested positive.
Health and Human Services Commissioner John Stephen said anyone who spots a potentially rabid animal should avoid it and call for professional help.
"If you see an animal that is acting strangely, please call your local animal control officer," he said. "Don't try to help the animal yourself, you could be risking your health."