Bear Mauls Cancer Patient In Vicious Attack Inside Her California Home: 'Should Be Dead'

A California woman currently battling cancer has described the terror she felt after being attacked by a bear she found roaming around her kitchen early one morning.

According to Fox 11, Laurel-Rose Von Hoffman-Curzi, 66, from Orinda, suffered a deep laceration to her face which required stitches as well as other puncture wounds, cuts and bruises after being mauled by a bear at her holiday home in North Lake Tahoe last weekend.

Von Hoffmann-Curzi said she had traveled to the property to isolate while she continues to fight stage 4 lymphoma. She was alerted to the presence of someone inside the property after being woken up by loud noises coming from the kitchen at approximately 6 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Upon investigating the noise, she came face to face with a large bear which was skulking around the kitchen refrigerator. What happened next is something of a blur.

"He must have come straight at me," Von Hoffmann-Curzi told the news outlet. "I have only a vision of the paw. It was dark and then I'm getting torn up."

She recalled that she was "bleeding and scared and screaming" during the ordeal but still found a way to fight back against the bear, throwing a quilt at the animal and screaming at it.

Though this initially failed to deter the animal, the bear eventually left her house after it saw her husband and son.

Von Hoffman-Curzi was treated in hospital for her injuries and believes she is lucky to be alive following the attack. "I should be dead the way the bear swiped at my face," she said.

She said that while bears have been known to visit her property before, they have never previously gotten inside her home. Newsweek has contacted Von Hoffman-Curzi for comment.

Captain Patrick Foy from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife told the news outlet DNA samples have been collected from Von Hoffman-Curzi's injuries to try and track down the bear while a trap has also been set up on her property.

It is the third bear attack to take place in the Lake Tahoe area this year. Foy said that if caught this particular bear could be euthanized.

He attributed the bear's break in to the presence of distinctive smells inside Von Hoffman-Curzi's home.

"Anything that has a strong odor to it is really the number one thing that attracts bears to people's properties," he told Fox 11.

That explanation certainly tallies with another recent bear-based home invasion, which was reported in California earlier this week. John Holden shared shocking video footage of a small bear eating food off his kitchen counter.

Holden came home to discover his house in disarray with the bear caught polishing off the remains of a bucket of KFC he had left on the work surface. He was in no doubt as to the cause of the break-in, surmising that the smell of the fried chicken was evidently too tempting for the bear to resist.

According to Bearwise, bears are attracted to "anything that smells" and |it doesn't even need to smell good."

"Garbage, compost piles, dirty diapers, pizza boxes, empty beverage cans...to a hungry black bear, it all smells like something good to eat," they warn.

They say it is therefore crucial that all food and garbage is kept securely "out of sight, smell and reach" otherwise bears can often become regular visitors if they begin to develop an association between food and a particular place.

Bear home invasions aren't just limited to the U.S. either.

One couple in Italy recently shared details of their own horrifying ordeal after coming face to face with a critically endangered Marsican brown bear who had found its way into their apartment.

A brown bear reacting angrily.
Stock photo of a brown bear - a woman from California has detailed her violent encounter with a brown bear who was found roaming inside her home. Ablestock.com/Getty