Huntington Beach Faces Potential Lawsuit Over Coyote Attack
A woman whose two-year-old daughter was attacked by a coyote in Huntington Beach five months ago is threatening to sue the city for negligence.
The incident occurred around 9:45 p.m. on April 28. Bree Anne Lee Thacker of Chino Hills was walking along the Huntington Beach pier with her small children when a coyote knocked her young daughter over and bit her in the face. Thacker says her daughter is lucky to be alive. She suffered severe scarring and now panics at the sight of dogs, including the family pet.
The city had an approved coyote management plan in place, which calls for volunteer hazing teams. The plaintiff’s attorney says they were apparently not deployed.
“Why were no hazing teams, apparently, in the city deterring coyotes to prevent this type of injury to a little girl?” attorney Sam Soleimany asked Thursday.
If the city rejects the claim, Soleimany says Thacker intends to file a lawsuit.
Coyotes have become a menace in many urban over the past 10 years. Food and water scarcity have pushed the animals out of the hills and into populated neighborhoods in search of resources.
Coyotes are now among the top complaints officials in Southern California receive. A “war” of sorts has also erupted between community safety activists and animal welfare groups over the best way to manage the explosion in urban coyote encounters.
Torrance City Councilman Aurelio Mattucci spearheaded a measure to make his city one of the few in California that carries out routine trapping and killing. He is also the founder of a group called Evict Coyotes, which advocates for tougher eradication measures.
“Coyotes may have been here first, but we’re here now,” Mattucci told the Los Angeles Times. “We want to make property safe for people and pets.”