California Man Survives Fight With Bear That Attacked His Dog Which Attacked The Bear's Cub

A man in his 50s was taken to hospital in California yesterday after receiving scratches from a bear who was likely protecting its cub from the man's pet dog.

The incident occurred in the 500 block of North Hermosa Avenue yesterday at approximately 1:45 p.m. and was sparked after the Sierra Madre homeowner's pet approached the cub in the man's backyard. Police told KTLA it is believed the bear was protecting its young.

The man—who has not been named—reportedly kicked the mother bear to stop it from attacking the dog. The situation escalated as the bear responded by swiping him on the calves and biting him on the back of his knee, the outlet reported, citing Sierra Madre police chief Jim Hunt.

Both the man and the pet dog are expected to make a recovery. The mother bear and her cub were later located outside a home in Auburn and tranquilized by officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife—called to the scene to help capture the animal.

Aerial footage taken by KCAL-TV showed the mother bear lying in a driveway. Officers waited at a distance to ensure the tranquilizer drugs had taken hold before placing both bears into a truck. KTLA reported a biologist will now analyse the mother bear to ensure it is safe to be released.

Local residents said that it is not uncommon to see such bears in the Sierra Madre neighborhood, which is located close to walking trails and the large Angeles National Forest region.

Brown Bear
A bear explores a forest on June 27, 2018. A California man reportedly kicked a mother bear after it attacked his pet dog this week in Sierra Madre, police say. Getty/JURE MAKOVEC/AFP

Cynthia Torres, who lives in the same area, told KTLA: "I wish the bear did not attack a person, that's dangerous and my sympathy goes out to that person. You can understand the conflict.

"That cub was so small and I'm sure the mother bear was trying to be protective. I completely understand how each wanted to be protective. The whole thing was a collision unfortunately. [Bears] are common in this town so this is just a fact of life for us, we choose to live here."

Last Friday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a blog post that there had been a "definite uptick in bear activity" in recent weeks—which is usual for the time of year. The state is home to the black bear—which comes in other colors, including brown and cinnamon—and they "very rarely" pose a threat to public safety or the welfare of family pets, the agency said.

"[Bears] sometimes take a wrong turn or end up somewhere they are not supposed to be," the post read, adding: "Emergency responders will help return these animals to wild habitat."

That doesn't mean they can't be dangerous. In April, Sierra Madre officials responded after an elderly man said he had been attacked by a bear while sleeping in a hiking area. The man, reportedly in his 80s, received non life-threatening injuries after the animal clawed at his face and hand, police said at the time.