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Published: Friday, 8/16/2013

Bear attacks 12-year-old girl in northern Michigan


TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The grandfather of a 12-year-old girl who was attacked by a bear in northern Michigan says she is doing well after having surgery for deep scratches on one of her thighs.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says Abby Wetherell was running on a dirt trail in Wexford County around 9 p.m. Thursday when the bear went after her.

She sped up, but bear knocked her down twice before her father and a neighbor chased the animal away.

Abby had surgery at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City.

The attack happened on grandfather Dave Wetherell’s wooded property near Cadillac. Wetherell says Abby is still in the hospital but is doing well.

The DNR says it’s setting traps for the bear.

It’s rare for black bears to attack humans unless they have a sickness such as rabies or are protecting cubs, Golder said.

“We don’t have evidence of cubs in this case,” he said. “We don’t know what the situation is. We’re out trying to trap this bear. When we do, because of the danger it poses, we’ll euthanize it and check it for disease and do forensic tests.”

The black bear is the only bear species in Michigan, the DNR says. Adult males weigh from 130 to 500 pounds, while females range from 90 to 300 pounds.

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