81-Year-Old Woman Gets Bitten by Bear While Attempting to Rescue Her Dog Who Later Dies

A stock image of a black bear.
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Authorities said emergency crews brought the woman to Newton Medical Center. She had received treatment for some of the injuries, including stitches on her leg, a report said. 

An 81-year-old woman was injured after she came face-to-face with a black bear that had grabbed her dog from the yard of her New Jersey home and dragged it into the woods. Her beloved pooch later died from the injuries it sustained in the attack. 

The harrowing incident happened on Monday evening around 7 p.m. when the woman, whose identity was not revealed, let her English Springer Spaniel outside of her Sussex County home. The woman told police she had put her garbage out earlier in the day for the Tuesday pickup. She said when she let out her dog that night, along with a family member's dog, she saw two bears rifling through her garbage bags, the New Jersey Herald reported.

She told police that the dogs ran toward the bears, who were believed to be adults. She said the larger bear headed toward the woods, but the other bear stayed behind and attacked her spaniel, knocking it to the ground.  

The woman said she ran toward the bear, yelling, as she attempted to rescue her pup from the bear’s grasp, but instead the bear attacked the woman, biting and scratching her, before picking up the dog and dragging it into the woods, Sparta police said.

When police located the dog, it was in the woods and transported it to an animal hospital, but sadly the dog could not be saved. Sparta Lt. John Lamon said the dog had been “mortally wounded," and the woman was “distraught,” over losing her beloved pooch, the Herald reported. 

Emergency crews brought the woman to Newton Medical Center, where she received treatment for some of the injuries, including stitches on her leg and antibiotics, and is expected to be okay.

The second dog was not injured, a report said.

Police and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Division of Fish and Wildlife are investigating. Larry Hajna, a spokesperson with the agency said that the bear is considered a “public threat” due to its aggressive behavior during the incident. 

He said, once the bear is trapped, it will be euthanized “as soon as possible,” the Herald reported. 

Black bear sightings have been reported in 21 counties, but according to the Division of Fish and Wildlife, bear attack in New Jersey are “extremely rare,” Newsweek reported. 

According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), 767 total black bear incidents have been reported. In 2020, there was a 45% decrease. In 2021, 272 of those incidents took place in Sussex County, where the woman lived.

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