DEBARY, Fla. (WESH) — A woman spoke to WESH 2 News after being attacked by a black bear while walking her dog in Volusia County Thursday night.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call in DeBary around 9 p.m., according to the state conservation commission.
Neighbors helped save the woman, who identified herself as Aydee, from a mother bear protecting her three cubs. She recalled the bear tackling her as she was heading into her house.
“I took off running that way and then she was running behind me. And she grabbed me by my shoulders and, I mean, I fell to the ground,” Aydee said.
Aydee suffered scratches on her face, a concussion, and bites and scratches on her lower back that required a trip to the hospital and stitches.
When the 911 operator asked if Aydee was injured, the caller responded: “In her hand, and her face, and her back. So she was attacked, actually.”
She had just stepped into her driveway with her dogs, Amaya and Hemmy, when the adult bear chased and tackled her by the street.
“The worst (experience) of my life… I never experienced this before. Like, you go through things in life but this is life the worst. Number one I would say,” Aydee said. “I feel lucky to be alive.”
Before the attack, neighbors tell me a man and his wife were across the street, when the adult bear came down from this pine tree and started coming at them.
Austin Kennedy watched as the bear looked like it would charge the couple.
“The bear came down, because she had cubs and came down, went after her, he scared the bear, and then she eventually the bear ran that way and attacked the lady,” Kennedy said.
Finding the bear in this tree when they arrived, Fish and Wildlife officers tranquilized and euthanized it, while other neighbors watched, and wondered if it could have been spared.
“Unfortunately, the neighbor you know got scratched up by the bear, and she is fortunate to be alive I guess but as far as euthanizing it, why not relocate it?” neighbor David Mangham said.
But FWC tells us, the woman’s injuries prove the bear was a risk to people living here.
“We can’t have bears living in neighborhoods that are willing to hurt somebody. We just can’t allow it,” David Telesco, FWC Bear Management Program Coordinator.
“FWC bear biologists darted the adult bear in the tree and humanely killed it per the FWC policy to protect public safety,” the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a news release.
The 100-pound “yearlings were determined to be old enough to survive on their own, so no attempt was made to capture them.”
The state conservation commission said people can call the Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-3922 if they feel threatened by a bear or observe a sick, injured, dead or orphaned bear.
Because the cubs are yearlings, they’re able to care for themselves and were allowed to wander off.
Bear attacks are extremely rare. This is just the 14th attack on a human since 2006.
But keep this in mind, nine of those attacks have happened in just the last seven years.