A Vermont woman was attacked by a black bear over the weekend while walking her two dogs on trails on her Strafford property, the state Fish and Wildlife Department reported Tuesday.
The 61-year-old woman was treated at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph on Saturday for non-life-threatening injuries, including a bite wound on her leg and multiple scratches, the department said. Fish and Wildlife game wardens and a bear biologist visited the site and concluded that the bear was a female with cubs who was likely provoked when the woman and her dogs surprised the group.
They were unable to find the bear and say such attacks are extremely rare in the state.
At the time of the attack, the woman had called her two dogs, who were out of sight, when she heard a large noise and realized a bear was charging her, officials said.
She told game wardens that she tripped on a stone wall as the bear was charging her and then realized the animal was on top of her and had bitten her.
The woman said her Jack Russell terrier barked at the bear, prompting the animal to get off of her. She said she left with her dogs without seeing the bear again and called 911 when she got home. She also texted a neighbor to take her to the hospital.
“Bear attacks are extremely rare in Vermont,” said Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department Bear Biologist Jaclyn Comeau. The department has records of just three previous bear attacks, she said.
“However, at this time of year black bears are moving in family units and mothers will be protective of their cubs. If confronted by a bear it is essential to remain calm and back away slowly, and to fight back immediately if attacked.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.