A Maine woman was bitten Friday after she punched a bear in the face after it started chasing her dog.
The woman, 64-year-old Lynn Kelly, was working in her backyard in Porter, which hugs the New Hampshire border, when her dog started barking and ran into the woods, according to a news release from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Kelly told CNN affiliate WMUR that when her dog returned, he was being chased by a bear.
“I ran over to where he had gone down and kept calling him and calling him, and he finally came running back up. And right behind him was the bear,” Kelly told the news station.
“The bear looked at me, and I looked at the bear. I think we both scared each other.”
The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says in its release that, “Kelly confronted the bear head on, and when the bear stood up, she stood up as tall as she could, then punched the bear in the nose.”
That’s when the bear bit her in her right hand and left puncture wounds in her wrist, the department said.
After the punch, the bear let go of her wrist and ran back into the woods, according to the release.
Kelly called 911 and was taken to a local hospital to be treated for the wounds. She has since been released. Her dog was unharmed.
The bear hasn’t been seen since the “provoked attack,” according to the release. The department said they have set two live live traps to try to capture the animal, noting it was seen in previous days eating birdseed in neighbors’ yards.
The department urged Maine residents to “keep a distance” if they see a bear and “do not corner or agitate the bear.” Dog owners should walk their dogs on non-retractable leashes and “do not get in between your dog and a bear.”
There are an estimated 24,000 to 36,000 black bears living across Maine, according to the department’s website. The department says that bear-related calls tend to increase during the spring and summer, when bears destroy bird feeders or get into people’s garbage.
Most conflicts with bears can be avoided by “removing common food attractants around homes,” the department says.
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