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Bear attacks man and dog; wife attacks bear; all survive

October 4, 2011 | 11:14 am

Black bear 
A four-way battle involving a man, his wife, their dog and a black bear that burst into their Pennsylvania home in pursuit of the family pet ended with all four bruised and battered and the bear still on the loose.

Wildlife officials said it's rare for a black bear to enter a home, as this one did Monday,  but speculation is that the bear is a mother who feared for her cubs' safety after spotting Richard and Angela Moyer's dog in the woods. If the bear is captured, it probably will be relocated away from the rural Oliver Township area of central Pennsylvania where the attack occurred, Jerry Feaser, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, told the local ABC affiliate, WHTM TV.

According to WHTM and other media reports, the brawl began at about 3 a.m. Monday as Richard Moyer heard the pet dog, a pit bull/husky mix, barking outside. He opened the door to let the dog inside, and the bear followed. Thus began a battle that brought Angela Moyer rushing into the living room to find out what was happening.

She found her 6-foot-6, 300-pound husband on the floor, being attacked by the animal.  "The bear was on him. Our dog was in the mix with them. I was like, 'This is crazy.' I just reacted," she said. "There was nothing really going through my mind other than 'Oh, my God, we got to get this bear out of here.'"

Whatever Angela Moyer did, it worked, because the bear swung around and headed for the door. But it knocked her over on the way. She ended up on the outdoor patio. Richard Moyer, despite cuts to his head, face and arms, staggered outside to find the animal attacking his wife, and he threw himself back into the fray. At that point the bear began tearing into his head.

Eventually, the bear seemed to lose interest and wandered into the woods, where it had yet to be found by Tuesday. Moyer required dozens of stitches and staples to close his head wound but was able to talk  good-naturedly about the incident after returning home.

"I know what it's like to be a salmon now," he joked to reporters.

About 15 months ago, a woman was attacked by a bear in the same area as she walked her dog. She was treated for bites and scratches. But there is no record of a black bear killing anyone in the wild in the area for more than 100 years, according to wildlife officials.

There are an estimated 18,000 bears in Pennsylvania, and since 2003 it has been illegal to feed bears as part of the state's effort to prevent dangerous encounters between bears and people. Read more about Pennsylvania's bear population in this notice from game officials.

Wildlife officials say bear activity tends to increase this time of year as the animals step up efforts to find food and fatten themselves and their cubs before they go into hibernation in November.

--  Tina Susman in New York


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Photo: Black bears are not known for their willingness to enter houses and attack dogs, much less people. Shown here is a black bear in Juneau, Alaska. Credit: Becky Bohrer/Associated Press