Bear attacks young girl in Wexford County

A 12-year-old girl was attacked by a bear while running in Haring Township Thursday evening.

A 12-year-old girl was attacked by a bear while running in Haring Township Thursday evening.

The girl, Abby Wetherell, was taken to Munson Medical Center where she underwent surgery and is in stable condition. The DNR said she suffered deep lacerations on her thighs.

The attack happened just after 9 p.m. on a trail on private property. Wetherell was running and sped up when she saw the bear. The bear then attacked, knocking the girl to the ground. The girl got up and tried to run again, but the bear knocked her down a second time.

"She was just out jogging," said DNR Wildlife Technician, Katie Keen. "This is a very unfortunate circumstance. This is very rare, we're not sure why it happened or why the bear attacked.

A neighbor heard the girl yelling for help and scared the bear off.

The DNR said there is no evidence that cubs were in the area when the attack occurred.

Authorities are searching for the black bear and attempting to trap it. If caught, the bear will be put down and tested for rabies and other diseases.

"We have confirmed what we think that it is just one bear that is involved," said Keen. "We haven't been able to find any other tracks. We're hoping we'll be able to use DNA that will be able to compare the bears DNA with the DNA that was found on the young girl."

"Any bear that attacks a human will be put down. It will be killed. So if we are able to determine if this bear attacked the girl we will kill it."

If you see a bear, the DNR is asking that you contact the department's Cadillac Operations Service Center at 231-775-9727.

The DNR said to remember the following tips when you're in an area where bears may be:

-To avoid surprising bears, travel in small groups and make noise

-If you encounter a bear, stand your ground and then slowly back away. Do not turn away. Do not show fear and run. Do not play dead.

-Make yourself look bigger and talk to the bear in a stern voice

-Fight back if actually attacked with a backpack, stick or bare hands

-Carry pepper spray, which has been shown to be effective in fending off bear attacks.