LONG BEACH, Wash. (AP) — Wildlife agents are trying to trap a bear that bit a woman and killed her dog when they surprised it raiding a garbage can outside the woman’s home on Washington state’s Long Beach Peninsula, the state Fish and Wildlife Department said.
The woman was treated at a hospital for puncture wounds on her waistline. The attack happened at about 3 a.m. Friday, but the woman didn’t report it to police until she returned home later that day, said Mike Cenci, deputy chief for Fish and Wildlife officers.
Four officers responded, bringing a Karelian bear dog from Tacoma to help track the animal. However, the ground was wet, and too much time had passed to pick up the scent.
Cenci described the attack that left the pet schnauzer dead as an accidental encounter. He said the bear likely was trying to get away when the woman spotted it and began chasing it with a broom.
“She was between him and freedom,” he said Monday in Olympia. “She was in the way.”
Cenci described the bear population on the peninsula as dense.
“We can only guess, but no doubt the dog and bear came nose to nose, and the bear killed the dog.”
Bears become a problem when they help themselves to garbage, and that’s why they department urges residents to keep trash secure or indoors.
The bear that attacked the woman likely is still in the area. Agents hope to lure it into one of their traps baited with doughnuts and beer.
The animal will be killed because it has become habituated to eating garbage and already killed a dog and attacked the woman.
“I’m not taking a chance of the bear taking it to the next level,” Cenci said.
Saturday’s high winds interfered with the traps by slamming their doors shut. Cenci believes the doughnuts and beer will draw in the bear, “depending on how hungry he is.”
The bear attack on a human is believed to be the first in Washington since September 2010 when a bear mauled Bellevue City Councilman John Chelminiak at Lake Wenatchee.
Other bear encounters usually involve someone out with a dog, Cenci said.