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Toddler Recovering from Coyote Attack in Orange County Cemetery

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A 2-year-old girl was injured in an animal attack incident at an Orange County cemetery after a coyote pounced on her and dragged her around the grounds. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, Klarissa Barrera of Long Beach, was visiting a family member’s grave at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cypress on July 18, 2013 at Forest Lawn cemetery with her siblings and her mother, Michelle Luper, when the attack occurred. Her mother said the coyote dragged the child over headstones and that the girl’s nails were bent backwards from grabbing the ground.

Brutal Attack on Child

Luper eventually screamed at the animal and scared it off. Klarissa suffered a two-inch gash on her right calf. She has also undergone two painful rounds of rabies treatments, her mother said. She is expected to make a full recovery. Luper also says her daughter has become very withdrawn since the attack and has nightmares.

As seen in this case, animal attacks can be physically and emotionally traumatic. The young child not only has to go through painful rabies treatments, but is also suffering from nightmares. It is a relief to hear that she will make a complete recovery.

Liability Issues

Based on this news report, it appears that Forest Lawn put traps on the property and security is now monitoring the area for coyotes. However, the company admits that it only started posting warning signs after this attack. The family’s attorney is also saying that the company is refusing to release the incident report on the attack. Since the attack on Klarissa, state game wardens have killed three coyotes including the one that attacked her.

There are several questions here. Did the cemetery know that coyotes were present on their grounds? Have the animals attacked any other pets or humans on their grounds before? Why did they wait until this attack to place traps and increase monitoring? For how long did they know that such a hazardous condition existed on their property? Why did they fail to post warning signs in the cemetery?

These are some of the troubling issues in this case. Since the incident did occur on their grounds, the cemetery can be held liable for damages such as medical expenses, permanent injuries such as scarring or disfigurement, pain and suffering and emotional distress. It would be in the company’s best interest to step up and take responsibility in addition to taking the measures necessary to avoid future animal attacks on their property.

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