81-Year-Old Woman Injured While Attempting to Save Dog From Bear Attack

An 81-year-old woman was injured after attempting to rescue her dog from a bear attack that took place outside her New Jersey home.

The woman told police that she let her English Springer Spaniel outside on Monday evening when the bear appeared in the yard of her Sussex County home. Police said the bear grabbed the dog and dragged it toward the woods.

When the woman attempted to free her dog from the bear's grasp she was bitten and scratched, according to police.

The woman was transported by ambulance to a local hospital where she received treatment for her injuries, including stitches on her leg.

The injured dog was located in the woods and transported to a nearby animal hospital where it succumbed to its injuries, police told Newsweek.

"The homeowner is distraught about the loss of her dog," police said in a statement.

Sparta Police notified the state's Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife to assist with the investigation.

Bear attacks in New Jersey are considered "extremely rare" although black bear sightings have been reported in all 21 counties, according to the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

For the most part, people living in the state are able to coexist peacefully with the large mammals, although they are notorious in the area for going through garbage and leaving behind a mess of trash.

According to data collected by NJDEP, there were approximately 767 total black bear incidents in the state, a 45 percent decrease since 2020. 272 of the incidents in 2021 occurred in Sussex County.

In 2021, there was only one provoked dog attack and zero unprovoked attacks, according to NJDEP. There were also four home entries but zero human attacks.

The DEP recommends that if someone finds themselves face to face with a black bear to react calmly and not run away. They also recommend providing bears with an escape route if they enter a residence, avoiding eye contact, as well as making the bear aware of your presence by clapping your hands or speaking in an assertive voice.

Black Bear close up
An 81-year-old woman saved her dog from a bear attack in front of her New Jersey home and suffered minor injuries. Her dog was later located in the woods and was brought to a nearby animal hospital for treatment. Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP via Getty Images

In November, a video shared on Youtube showed a New Jersey woman instructing a large bear to shut her front door.

In the video, bear activist Susan Kehoe opened her front door to find a large black bear sitting on her stairs.

"Oooh, who do we have here?" she asks in the video. "Mr. Bear, will you please close my door?" Kehoe repeats the command multiple times while the bear approached the doorway. "Close the door Mr. Bear."

Eventually, the bear calmly walked up to the door and put his mouth around the doorknob. He then backed up and nearly finished closing the door by himself.

"You have to finish closing it, sweetie, the cold air is coming in," she says to the bear. "Close the door, sweetie."

The bear then successfully finished shutting the door with its mouth as Kehoe said thank you.