December 17, 2018 1:00 pm
Updated: December 18, 2018 8:46 am

Woman survives horrific bear mauling by punching animal, getting help from dog named Bear

A black bear pictured in this 2017 file photo.

AP Photo/Becky Bohrer
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A Pennsylvania woman survived a horrific bear attack by repeatedly punching the animal after it dragged her the length of “almost a football field,” while getting some help from her pet Chihuahua.

Melinda LeBarron was attacked by a bear Wednesday night after she went outside of her home to see why her dog, named Bear, was barking.

“The next thing she knew, she was on the ground getting slammed around,” her son, Trent LeBarron, told the Associated Press. “I’ll just put it this way — she’s very, very lucky to be alive. She was punching the bear and everything. Her right hand’s all swollen up from punching the bear.”

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The Pennsylvania Game Commission said Thursday the agency was setting up live traps near the site of the attack with the hope of capturing the bear.

“While there still are some questions about what led to this attack, it can be said with certainty that these types of encounters are extremely rare,” the commission’s black-bear biologist Mark Ternent said in a statement. “It’s not unusual for bears to occur in residential areas, and interactions between people and bears occur regularly, typically without incident.”

The agency said LeBarron was attacked on a sidewalk and dragged through a forest, into the neighbouring county, while her dog tried to intervene by biting the black bear several times.

“The bear actually dragged her almost a football field, across the road, down through the woods and towards the river,” the agency said.

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The attack left a large trail of blood and pieces of LeBarron’s clothing were also found, leading her family to where she was eventually found.

“As she said in her own words, the bear wouldn’t show her no mercy at all,” her son told the Associated Press.

The son said after his mother went limp, the bear went after the dog, while LeBarron managed to crawl into a bush.

Pennsylvania Game Commission spent the weekend trying to track the bear to no avail.

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