DETROIT -- The attack left her clothes shredded, her body cut and bruised.
But a 12-year-old girl who was attacked by a black bear in Michigan is expected to be released from the hospital in a few days.
Abigail Wetherell of Haring Township was attacked while she was out running in Wexford County late Thursday. She was flown to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, where her condition was stable Friday after she underwent surgery, said Ed Golder, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Abigail, who is also known as Abby, has serious cuts on her thigh as well as puncture wounds and bruises, but is expected to recover.
The bear was on the loose, and authorities were trying to trap it. If caught, the bear will be euthanized and tested for rabies and other diseases.
It was unclear why the bear attacked the girl, Golder said.
"That's an area of great interest," he said.
The attack appears to have been unprovoked, and Golder said there is no evidence of bear cubs in the area, which might explain an attack if it had been a mother bear.
Abby's grandfather, Dave Wetherell, 66, owns the property. Wetherell said there are lots of bears in the area, but this is the first time there's been an attack.
"Typically, the bear will run from you," he said. "It's very scary to think that you're just walking in the woods, and all of a sudden you're attacked by a bear."
The girl was attacked after 9 p.m., while she was running on a dirt road behind a cabin, where she often goes. She spotted the bear in her peripheral vision and tried to run faster, but the bear knocked her to the ground. She got up and tried to run, but the bear knocked her down a second time and mauled her. She even tried to play dead at one point, although experts discourage that when it comes to black bear attacks.
The girl was rescued when a neighbor heard her cries and scared the bear off.
Wetherell was able to speak with his granddaughter after the attack. He noted that even though she was in a great deal of pain, Abby, who is a goalie on a traveling soccer team, was more concerned about her team losing its goalie for a period.
Wetherell called Abby a brave young lady. She's a hunter who loves the outdoors, and she already announced her intention to return to the area where she was attacked.
Adam Bump, the DNR's bear and fur-bearer specialist, said bear attacks are rare in Michigan. Bump said there's typically about one report a year of a minor attack by a mother bear trying to protect her cubs.
There have been three documented cases of fatal bear attacks in Michigan, the last one in the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula in 1978, Bump said, citing the book "Understanding Michigan Black Bear: The Truth about Bears and Bear Hunting," by Richard P. Smith.
But such cases are not representative of the state's bears.
"The normal, typical Michigan bear is going to do everything it can to avoid contact with people," Bump said, noting that it may be impossible to determine why the bear attacked.
The DNR notes on its website that black bears are most active at dusk and dawn. They are opportunistic feeders, eating everything from insects and plants to carrion, but they can prey on small- to medium-sized animals, too. Adult females can weigh 90 to 300 pounds, and adult males can weigh 130 to 500 pounds.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has a list of tips for people who are in areas frequented by bears:
• 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 proved to be effective in fending off bear attacks.