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Fla. woman attacked by bear while walking dogs

Published: Jan. 16, 2022 at 2:19 AM EST
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DEBARY, Fla. (WESH) - A Florida woman feels “lucky to be alive” after she was tackled by a bear while walking her dogs. Neighbors helped save her from the attack.

The victim named Aydee, who didn’t want to share her last name, was walking her dogs Thursday evening in a DeBary, Florida, neighborhood when she was attacked by a mother bear protecting her three cubs.

Aydee had just stepped into her driveway with her dogs, Amaya and Hemmy, when the adult black bear chased and tackled her by the street.

“I took off running… and then, she was running behind me. She grabbed me by my shoulder, and I fell to the ground,” she said.

Aydee suffered a concussion, scratches to her face and bites and scratches on her lower back. She was taken to the hospital, where she received stitches.

“The worst [experience] of my life… Like, you go through stuff in life, but this is like the worst. No. 1, I would say,” she said. “I feel lucky to be alive.”

Before the attack, neighbors say a couple were across the street when the bear came down from a pine tree and started at them aggressively.

Austin Kennedy watched as the bear looked like it would charge the couple.

“The bear came down because she had… cubs, came down [and] went after her. He scared the bear away from her, and then… the bear ran that way and attacked the lady,” he said.

Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found the bear in a tree when they arrived. They tranquilized and euthanized it while other neighbors watched and wondered if it could have been spared.

“Unfortunately, the neighbor got scratched up by the bear. She’s fortunate to be alive, I guess, but as far as euthanizing it, why not relocate it?” neighbor David Mangham said.

But Fish and Wildlife officers say Aydee’s injuries prove the bear was a risk to people living in the neighborhood.

“We can’t have bears living in neighborhoods that are willing to hurt somebody. We just can’t allow it,” said Davis Telesco, the FWC’s bear management program coordinator.

The three bear cubs, described as 100-pound yearlings, “were determined to be old enough to survive on their own, so no attempt was made to capture them,” according to the FWC.

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