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Lawsuit filed against city over coyote attack on toddler near Huntington Beach pier – Orange County Register

The mother of a 2-year-old who was attacked in the sand in the dark of night in Huntington Beach last April has filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that despite knowing about a growing coyote population in urban areas, the city hasn’t done enough to protect the public.

Attorneys for Bree Anne Lee Thacker held a press conference Thursday, September 22 to announce the lawsuit following the attack on her daughter, which was captured by a Surfline.com camera north of the Huntington Beach Pier.

The little girl was taken to the hospital for wounds and lacerations to her neck and head, according to attorneys representing Thacker.

“She’s physically scared,” said attorney Sam S. Soleimany of DeWitt & Algorri. “Kids are resilient, but she gets emotional when she sees what looks like a coyote, dog, or cat.”

The attack happened around 9:45 p.m. on April 28. Video from the Surfline.com camera showed a woman holding the toddler and taking photos while another person and a child were a few feet away just north of the Huntington Beach pier. Once the toddler slipped a few steps behind the woman. The coyote stops short of her before attacking the toddler. As the woman approached the toddler, the coyote ran away.

Thacker’s first impression was that it could have been someone’s stray dog ​​without imagining it could have been a coyote, Soleimany said. “The girl didn’t start screaming right away. Nothing indicated anything crazy was happening.”

The coyote circled back in front of the camera a second and third time, walking through the area near the shore while another pair emerged, also unaware of their presence.

A city official acknowledged receipt of the lawsuit but declined to comment on legal matters.

The lawsuit seeks to “shed light on the guilt of city officials who allowed coyotes to become a safety concern to the community and then failed to take steps to protect citizens from animal attacks,” Thacker’s attorneys said in an announcement of the filing. “At a recent town hall meeting, citizens expressed their anger and frustration at the increase in coyote attacks. Many blame city officials for not taking available steps to regain security in the area, instead placing the burden on citizens to act alone against the growing coyote threat.”

The city’s Coyote Management Plan was instituted, it is claimed, to have the city take steps to reduce the risk of injury from coyote attacks, including, but not limited to, education and bullying, aggressive bullying, and the formation of bullying teams.

“The city knew of these dangers, not just through an actual inspection of its property and reports from its employees and the public of other similar attacks, and yet it has not warned of the danger.”

If the city denies the claim or does nothing, the door would open to a lawsuit in court.

Later that night after the attack, officers found and shot two coyotes, killing one near Pacific Coast Highway and Goldenwest Avenue. The second coyote, injured by gunfire, ran from officers and disappeared near the wetlands before being found under a trailer at a trailer park later that night by officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Orange County Animal Control and was euthanized.

https://www.ocregister.com/2022/09/22/claim-filed-against-city-for-coyote-attack-on-toddler-near-huntington-beach-pier/ Lawsuit filed against city over coyote attack on toddler near Huntington Beach pier – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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