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Family of two-year-old girl attacked by coyote sues city of Huntington Beach

Family of girl attacked by coyote in Huntington Beach suing city,
Family of girl attacked by coyote in Huntington Beach suing city, 02:06

After their two-year-old daughter was attacked by a coyote in Huntington Beach earlier this year, a Chino Hills family has announced their plans to file a lawsuit against the city for their lack of action to protect the public from the growing problem. 

As a first step, the family filed a claim. On Thursday, accompanied by a lawyer, they declared their plans to sue.

"Essentially what happened was a coyote ran up and it tore the girl's face, leaving deep lacerations and now scars on her face," said Sam Soleimany, the family's attorney. "Frankly, she's lucky to be alive at all. Had this bite been just a few inches below, we'd be talking about a completely different type of case."

Back in April, the two-year-old was attacked from behind by a coyote as her parents had their backs turned. The coyote held onto the girl's face for nearly 12 seconds before letting go when an adult noticed what was going on. 

On top of the scars she now bears, the girl's family said she suffered significant emotional trauma in the incident, now terrified of animals. 

Eventually, officers euthanized the coyote responsible for the attack, as well as another that was located in the same area. 

A rise in coyote sightings and attacks have had residents on alert for months now, but despite this, city officials have maintained that there is nothing they can do about the increase in the coyote population. 

"Many accuse city officials of not taking available steps to reclaim safety in the area, instead placing the burden on citizens to address the growing coyote threat alone," said the victim's attorneys in a statement released on the family's behalf. 

"What the city could have done differently in this case was actually follow the portions of their plan that called for hazing teams to be created to address the risk of encroaching coyotes," Soleimany said during the press conference held Thursday. "It does not appear that they actually did that."

One resident, who lives in the condominiums next to where the girl was attacked, said that he's heard a number of stories from neighbors who have had their own run-ins with the wild animals. 

A spokesperson for the City of Huntington Beach told CBS that they cannot comment on ongoing legal matters.

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