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Austrian tourist recounts otter attack in Wisconsin lake

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An Austrian woman on vacation in Wisconsin is getting rabies shots after she said she was bitten several times by at least two otters while swimming in a lake.

       Brigitte France, 51, told the Duluth News Tribune that she was swimming on Lake Owen near Drummond, Wis., last Wednesday when she heard something hissing behind her.

       She spotted an otter. "I thought it was really cool," she said. "I'd never seen an otter before. Then, all of a sudden, there were three of them."

       She felt uncomfortable and swam to shore. She said she had her hands on the shore and legs in the water, "and there they were - one on the right leg and one on the left leg."

       "I shook my legs, and they went away," France said. They bit her eight or nine times, but it "never really hurt much."

       France lives in Altach, Austria, with her husband, former Duluth resident Ted France. Each summer, they spend time at a family cabin on Lake Owen in Bayfield County.

       After the attack, she walked back to that cabin. From there, she went to Hayward Area Memorial Hospital where doctors started a series of rabies shots.

       France will get one more rabies shot before leaving Monday for Austria, where she will take her last two rabies shots.

       Still, she said she doesn't hold grudge against the animals. "I haven't been haunted by the experience," she said.

       Drummond is about 50 miles southeast of Duluth.              ---

      Information from: Duluth News Tribune, http://www.duluthsuperior.com