A Vermont woman was mauled by a mama bear after her dog chased the cubs up a tree, officials said.
Sarah Dietl and her Shih Tzu, Bodhi, had just left their Winhall condo at 10 p.m. Wednesday for their last walk of the day — when the dog immediately ran after a bear cub, she told the Battleboro Reformer.
That’s when the mama bear rushed the dog-mom and latched onto her skill, Dietl told the local newspaper.
“She came running out of the dark. She ran right to me,” Dietl said. “It was terrifying.”
Luckily, her partner Robert Montouro came to her rescue. The bear momentarily let go of Dietl after Montouro yelled and smacked the animal with a flashlight.
The couple ran back inside and managed to slam the door in the face of the charging bear, locking Bodhi outside in the process.
“The dog was later found scared but unharmed,” Winhall police said.
Dietl escaped the petrifying situation with 15 stapled in her scalp, a gash in her side and several cuts on her face and hand. None of the injuries are life-threatening, police said.
The mother and her cubs are still on the loose, according to officials.
The bears may have been feasting on decorative pumpkins left outside the area, officials said.
A bird feeder and a bear-proof dumpster were also tampered with.
A lack of natural foods for bears in the wild because of decreased rainfall and unseasonable temperatures may also contribute to bears moving closer toward human populations, Col. Justin Stedman, warden director for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, told the Brattleboro Reformer.
Bear encounters in Vermont this year are at “the highest level than we’ve ever had,” Stedman said.