Melinda Lebarron is in the hospital and will need multiple surgeries following the attack, with family members expecting “a long road of recovery,” one wrote on a GoFundMe fundraising page.
Family members said that Lebarron was walking her dog on Dec. 12 when they encountered a bear outside of her home in Lycoming County.
They said she was rescued by her dog, a Chihuahua-mix named Bear.
She’s been able to give little information because of her condition.
“We don’t know why it happened. No one was home and she isn’t able to speak at the moment,” Cheyenne Lebarron, Melinda’s daughter-in-law, told the Daily Item.
“We are able to ask questions and she can respond by motions. We asked if the dog went after the bear to protect her and if that is the reason she is still with us, and she nodded. That dog is the reason she’s alive.”
Lebarron is being treated at Geisinger Medical Center while Bear is being treated at the Susquehanna Trail Animal Hospital.
Officials said the bear dragged Lebarron some 88 yards, leaving her with broken bones and deep wounds.
“We’re looking into the circumstances of how that occurred, why that occurred, and trying to identify the particular bear that may have been involved,” Game Warden Chris Krebs told WNEP.
Krebs said that the deer rifle season in the state just ended and that there were deer parts near where the attack happened, which may have triggered the attack.
Krebs set a trap to try to capture the bear and will euthanize it if it is caught.
Lycoming County, a rural area, is part of the black bear’s core range. “Black bears are very common in the area and there are a lot of black bears in the area,” Krebs said.
Officials recommend that people make sure to not leave food sources for the animals outside their homes.
“This is definitely not how bears typically react unless there is a contributing factor like a mother with cubs that feels threatened,” Mike Steingraber, game warden supervisor with the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Northcentral region, told the Daily Item.
“Bears typically only come around people to get food, and this is one of the reasons we encourage people to remove food sources such as bird feeders if you suspect bears are coming around,” he said.
On the GoFundMe page, a family member said that both she and the dog, Bear, are recovering.
“We cannot believe the amount of love, support, and coverage that this has gotten and are eternally grateful to you all. She is a mother, grandmother, wife, daughter, aunt, and the glue that holds the family together!” wrote Allycia Prowant. “Thank you all for showing her and her precious dog so much support and love!”
A separate page has been set up for Bear.
“Bear has sustained some serious injuries as well during the bear attack any donations are greatly appreciated as the dog did its best trying to protect her. She is still being treated for her injuries,” wrote Prowant.
From NTD News