Mama Bear attacks dog to protect cub

Around 10 a.m. on May 21, a dog was attacked by a mama bear when it got too close to her cub.

A woman walking her dog on Big Bear Pen Road near the water tower inadvertently got near a bear cub, which caused the mama bear to go into protection mode.

“The woman saw what she thought was a small black dog. Too late she realized she and her dog were approaching a bear cub,” said Highlands Police Officer Leah McCall. “They immediately turned around, but the mama was already charging.”

According to reports, the mama bear leapt out and grabbed the dog, which was described as large, who luckily submitted. The woman yelled until the bear released the dog. She and the cub walked away.

“But then the dog growled, which caused the bear to charge again, before turning and walking off for good,” said Officer McCall.

Mayor Pat Taylor said though the woman and her dog didn’t do anything wrong, the incident underscores the need for Highlands to be a BearWise community.

The dog was taken to the vet and treated for several puncture wounds. The dog’s owner didn’t want anything to happen to the bear but wants the public to be advised to hopefully keep this type of incident from happening again, said McCall.

Cynthia Strain, Chairwoman of the B.E.A.R. Task Force said there was a zoom meeting with the mayor and Officer McCall on Monday just to log the incident.

“The dog escaped serious injury and the neighbors don’t want the bear to suffer any consequences from this,” said Strain. “She wasn’t being aggressive, just protective.”

There are six outdoor BearWise basics:

  • Stay Alert and Stay Together – Pay attention to your surroundings and stay together. Walk, hike, jog, or cycle with others when possible. Keep kids within sight and close by.
  • Leave earbuds at home and make noise periodically so bears can avoid you.
  • Leave No Trash or Food Scraps – Double bag your food when hiking and pack out all food and trash.
  • Keep Dogs Leashed – Letting dogs chase or bark at bears is asking for trouble. Don’t force a bear to defend itself. Keep your dogs leashed at all times or leave them at home.
  • Know What to do if You See A Bear – Black bears are seldom aggressive and attacks are rare. If you see a bear before it notices you: stand still, don’t approach. Enjoy the moment; then move away quietly in the opposite direction. If you encounter a bear that’s aware of you: don’t run; running may trigger a chase response. Back away slowly.
  • Carry Bear Spray & Know How To Use It – Bear spray is proven to be the easiest and most effective way to deter a bear that threatens you. It doesn’t work like bug repellant, so never spray your clothes or belongings.

To learn more about how to live in a BearWise community click HERE.

By Kim Lewicki, Highlands Newspaper

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