Vermont Woman Attacked at Condo Complex by Brown Bear After Her Dog Chased Its Cub

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Sarah Dietl was mauled by a bear outside the door of her Vermont condo after her dog chased its cub up a tree, leading to head stitches and a mangled hand.

After letting her dog out of her condominium complex in the Green Mountains of Vermont, a woman was mauled by a bear.

Sarah Dietl told the Brattleboro Reformer she let her Shih Tzu, Bodhi, out before 10 p.m. when it chased a bear cub up a tree.

This prompted its mother bear to attack, Dietl said to the outlet.

"She came running out of the dark. She ran right to me," Dietl told the Reformer. "It was terrifying."

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department issued a release saying that after charging towards her, Dietl said the bear knocked her to the ground and began to maul her, according to local outlet ABC7.

The 43-year-old called for help, and the bear was close enough to the door that her partner, Robert Montouro, was able to hit it on the head with a flashlight after coming to her aid, according to the Reformer. 

"Once I pulled Sarah into the house, the bear charged the door," Montouro told the outlet, adding that he was terrified but slammed the door in the bear’s face.

A spokesperson for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department confirmed that since the attack, game wardens and biologists have continued to search the neighborhood for the bear and its cubs but have not yet found anything, according to ABC7. 

According to the Reformer, while non-life threatening, the attack resulted in Dietl’s mangled hand, 15 staples in her scalp, cuts to her face, and a gash in her side.

Officials say Bodhi returned home unharmed the following morning, according to the Reformer. 

Col. Justin Stedman, warden director of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, told the publication that bear sightings in Vermont are "the highest level than we've ever had" compared to previous years.

"Before letting pets out at night, I would urge Vermonters to light their yards and make plenty of noise to allow wildlife in the area time to move on," Kyle Isherwood, a game warden, said in a statement to the Reformer. 

"Along with securing food that could attract wildlife into a developed area, steps like this are important for the safety of people and wildlife."

Montouro acknowledged the role land development has on wildlife, saying to the Reformer, "We really feel lucky to live where we live here in Vermont.”

"We build condos in places where bears used to live, and we're kicking them out. It's not their fault."

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