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Fatima, 2, was attacked by a rabid skunk Monday.
Fatima, 2, was attacked by a rabid skunk Monday.Betty Bennette

A 2-year-old girl was attacked by a rabid skunk during a family barbecue in Weymouth before firefighters beat the animal to death with a metal pole as her screaming family looked on, officials said.

Fatima was playing with her siblings when an adult skunk came into the backyard of her family’s home on Neck Street around 5:30 p.m. Monday, according to Weymouth fire officials and Betty Bennette, the girl’s grandmother. The skunk tried to attack Bennette and the girl’s mother, Mai, before it ran “full throttle” toward Fatima, Bennette said.

“Her mother swooped in and grabbed her. The skunk was dangling from the baby’s legs. She was screaming, they were both screaming, I was screaming. Mai kept kicking at it and hitting it until it finally dropped,” Bennette said.

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Family members ran into their home and called 911 as the skunk stalked them outside, Bennette said. Four Weymouth firefighters arrived to fight the rabid animal.

“The skunk was going after each of them,” Bennette said. “They were spraying in his face. He would hesitate for a moment then come right back at them. It wouldn’t deter the skunk’s aggression.”

Finally, the firefighters decided to kill the skunk.

“They proceeded to use a log to try to stop it. Eventually they got it with a shovel and killed it,” Bennette said. “It was traumatic.”

Firefighters wrote in a report that they “used [a] CO2 extinguisher and a pike pole to disable a rabid skunk.” Pike poles are long poles topped with a metal hook commonly used by firefighters.

A Weymouth animal control officer confirmed the skunk had rabies, Bennette said.

No one else was injured, but Fatima had a bite on her leg and scratches on her legs and hand, Bennette said. She was taken to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth for the first of four treatments she will have for rabies prevention.

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“She would tell you the story in her little baby language and what you could make out is, ‘He bited me.’ She was pointing to her hand and she said, ‘He hurted me,’” Bennette said.


Alyssa Lukpat can be reached at alyssa.lukpat@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @AlyssaLukpat.