Pastor Rescues Dog 'Peyton Manning' from Black Bear's Jaws

A Pennsylvania pastor rescued his pet dog from the jaws of a black bear on Monday in the township of Mt. Pleasant.

Rev. Tim Stradling, 56, said he let the dog go outside his home at around 10 p.m. Shortly after, the canine—a nine-year-old Maltese/silky terrier mix named Peyton Manning—began barking, The Tribune-Review reported.

Stradling initially thought that Peyton was barking at the deer that sometimes frequent the woods close to his home.

But when the pastor looked outside, he saw "a good medium-sized" black bear with Peyton clutched in the animal's jaws.

"I just had the thought of how is he being bit there. Is he on the back of his neck or around his neck?" Stradling told The Tribune-Review.

"To drop it was my goal."

To that end, the pastor tried to make himself look bigger while screaming at the bear, but this strategy was not successful.

"I remembered to get big and to get loud, but that didn't work. In the moment, I thought I can't let my dog get taken like that."

At one point, Stradling ran toward the bear and then backed away, before the animal finally let go of Peyton.

"It all happened in a matter of two minutes," Stradling said.

That wasn't the end of the ordeal, however. According to Stradling, it seemed as if the bear was about to leave, but the animal returned to the area outside the home as the pastor tried to find Peyton.

At one point, Stradling fell and his wife came out onto a porch in their home to shout at the bear, which finally left.

Eventually, Stradling and his wife found Peyton hiding underneath a nearby car. The couple wrapped him in a shirt and rushed him to a vet. The attack left the dog with a fractured leg and puncture wounds around its neck.

"The back of his neck is like a row of teeth," Stradling said.

Stradling told Newsweek via email that the veterinary bill for the dog was $5,950. A GoFundMe was started to help pay the cost, which has since garnered nearly $1,000 in donations.

The pastor told The Tribune-Review that he did what he could to save his dog, noting that his reaction to the situation was "a mixture of being brave and being stupid."

He said he realized that he was lucky to escape the ordeal with only minor injuries from the fall.

Chris Bergman, a game warden with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said black bears are emerging from their winter dens at this time of year and are hungry.

He said people should turn lights on and make noises when letting a pet go outside in the dark, in order to ward off any bears in the vicinity.

Despite living in the area for around 17 years, Stradling had only seen bears twice. According to Bergman, bear attacks on humans in the state are extremely rare.

A black bear in California
A black bear scavenges in central California. On Monday, a pastor rescued his dog from the jaws of a black bear in the township of Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania. MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images