Woman recovering from run-in with bear - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Woman recovering from run-in with bear

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Photo provided by West Hartford Patch Photo provided by West Hartford Patch
WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A West Hartford woman came face-to-face with a 200-pound black bear in her own backyard while she was trying to protect her dog Wednesday morning.

Sharon Flannery told Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection that her Irish Jack Russell Terrier, Maggie, was playing in the backyard of her home on Avondale Road at about 7:20 a.m.

"It was a really deep, throaty growl," Flannery said. "My daughter yells there's a bear. And so I open the door and my little dog comes running from the neighbor's yard, hops the fence, comes beelining right into the house and then there's this huge bear right there."

A female bear, which was with two young cubs, started to chase Flannery's dog. So she kicked it near the face, while its mouth was open, and ended up with puncture wounds and scratches. 

"I kicked it, I kicked it," Flannery told Eyewitness News at her home Wednesday evening. "And it kind of looked and I screamed again and then it went running off."

Flannery was able to get her dog inside unharmed, DEEP said. After calling police, she was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and has since been released.

"I definitely don't want to get that close again," Flannery said. "Once was enough."

However, Flannery's actions impressed her son.

"It's pretty impressive," said son Will Fierston. "I don't know if I would have had the confidence to kick a bear in the face."

After locating the bears, DEEP officials said they were forced to euthanize the bear and tranquilized the two cubs, which are a few years old and were released into a wooded area.

DEEP officials said the yearlings were old enough to survive on their own.

Eyewitness News confirmed with DEEP that they had to euthanize the bear because they needed to test it for rabies due to woman's puncture wounds.

"You don't ever want to take a life from wildlife like that," Flannery said. "They were just at the wrong place at the wrong time."

The bear has also been known to "have aggressive tendencies" and three years ago, it killed a dog, DEEP officials said.

"Black bears are rarely aggressive toward humans and attacks are exceedingly rare," DEEP said in a statement. "Black bears are generally shy and avoid contact with people. However, if they regularly find food near houses, they can lose their fear of humans and become a problem."

To report a bear sighting, call the DEEP Wildlife Division's Sessions Woods office at 860-675-8130 or the 24-hour dispatch line at 860-424-3333.

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