New Jersey

Bear Attacks 81-Year-Old NJ Woman, Kills Her Beloved Pet in Garbage Night Mayhem

The bear carried the English Springer Spaniel into the woods and authorities later found it but it died of its injuries; the 81-year-old owner needed stitches to close the wound on her leg

An 81-year-old woman was attacked by a bear that killed one of her dogs when she let her pets outside Monday after taking the garbage out, police in New Jersey say.

Police in Sparta responding to a call about a woman attacked on Echo Drive around 7 p.m. say they found the 81-year-old at a neighbor's house. She had head and leg injuries after being bitten and scratched by a bear that attacked one of her dogs.

The woman told police she had put out her garbage earlier in the day for its scheduled Tuesday evening pickup. It wasn't clear exactly what time she did that, but as she let her dogs out later, she saw two bears had torn open her garbage bags and were sitting on the street, eating and rummaging through the trash.

The dogs headed toward the bruins, the woman said, and the larger bear ran toward the woods. The other bear stayed behind and swatted at the spaniel, knocking it to the ground. The woman said she ran toward the bear, yelling, and tried to snatch her dog back from the bear -- but the bear bit her, scratched her, picked up the spaniel and ran to the woods, with the other dog in pursuit.

Patrols were later able to find the spaniel, but it had been mortally injured, they say. It was taken to an animal hospital, where it died. The 81-year-old woman was taken to a hospital, where she got stitches for her leg wound as well as antibiotics.

The woman is expected to be OK, officials say, but is distraught about the loss of her dog.

Wildlife officials in New Jersey were called to help find the attacking bear and arrived at Sparta police headquarters Tuesday morning to start their investigation, officials said. They appeared to be still searching for it into the afternoon.

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