A Vermont woman was injured by a bear in her yard while walking her dog
A Vermont woman was mauled by a bear in her backyard after letting her dog outside, officials said.
The attack happened Wednesday night at a condominium complex in Winhall near Stratton Mountain Resort, in the Green Mountains.
The woman, identified as 43-year-old Sarah Dietl, let her Shih Tzu outside when the dog “immediately” chased the bear cub up a tree, according to the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“She described that the cub’s mother subsequently attacked her, knocked her to the ground and began beating her,” according to the press release.
“She came running out of the dark. She ran straight to me,” Dietl he told the Brattleboro Reformer. “It was terrifying.”
Dietl called for help, and her partner was able to separate her from the bear, officials said. He hit the bear in the head with a powerful flashlight, the Reformer reported.
When they returned to their home, the bear “ran into” the door when they opened it for their dog, but they were able to keep the animal from entering, officials said.
911 was called and Dietl was taken to a local hospital where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries to her head, hand and side and released Thursday, officials said.
Since the attack, game wardens and biologists have continued to search the neighborhood for the bear and her cubs, but as of Friday they had not found anything, a spokesman for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed.
The couple’s dog was found unharmed.
“Before letting pets out at night, I would urge Vermonters to light up their yards and make plenty of noise to allow the area’s wildlife to continue,” he said in a statement. “In addition to providing food that could attract wildlife to a developed area, steps like this are important for human and wildlife safety.”
During the investigation, game wardens and biologists learned that a female bear with cubs was regularly seen in the area during the summer and fall. They also found that a bear-proof dumpster on the property was damaged and “not being used properly,” and that several decorative pumpkins outside the complex “showed signs of being eaten by bears,” the wildlife department said.
Bear attacks are rare in Vermont, although residents must take “every step” to avoid attracting bears, including securing food sources, said Jaclyn Comeau, wildlife biologist and black bear project manager for the department.
“The increasingly bold and risky behavior of bears is caused by the failure of Vermonters to take the proactive steps necessary to safely coexist with a healthy black bear population,” Comeau said in a statement.
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