Hero Dog Saves Oregon Woman Being Mauled by Bear in Backyard

A dog intervened to try and save its owner who was being attacked by a bear in southern Oregon, according to police.

The incident occurred on Monday evening at the woman's home, which is located in the city of Medford.

During the attack, the woman suffered injuries to her arms and legs, but the wounds were not life-threatening, the Medford Police Department said. The species of bear involved in the incident has not been disclosed, but there are no wild grizzly bears in Oregon so it was almost certainly a black bear.

Human injuries due to bear attacks are very rare, and fatal incidents are even rarer, Frank van Manen, a research wildlife biologist from the U.S. Geological Survey's Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, previously told Newsweek.

A black bear
Stock image: A black bear. A woman was attacked by a bear in southern Oregon on Monday. iStock

In general, bears will try to avoid people. But when they do attack humans, they are capable of causing severe physical trauma, which can result in death.

The attack in Medford involved a bear estimated to weigh 150 to 200 pounds. According to police, the animal "rushed" and attacked her while she was in her backyard.

During the attack, the bear caused injuries to the woman's left arm and left leg. But at one point, the owner's dog intervened in an attempt to protect her.

The pet was also attacked, but together, the woman and the dog eventually managed to chase the bear away. Police responded to the incident shortly before 9 p.m. on Monday.

As the bear fled, it was hit by a vehicle, likely sustaining injuries, police said. Officers and state troopers from the Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) conducted an "extensive search" of the area for the bear, but it was not found.

Several members of the public reported sightings of a bear in the area over the course of that night.

The Oregon DFW provides several safety tips for anyone who encounters a bear:

  • Make noise. Raise your voice and speak firmly. Yell and clap your hands.
  • Do not run away or make any sudden movements. Provide the bear with an escape route. Back away slowly, making sure to always face the bear.
  • If a black bear does attack you, be aggressive and fight back. You can shout, or throw things like tools, sticks and rocks at the animal if they are handy.

There are approximately 25,000 to 30,000 black bears living in Oregon today, according to the DFW. Grizzlies were once native to the region, but the last recorded bear of this species in the state was killed in the late 1930s.

Newsweek has contacted the Medford Police Department for comment.