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California woman clawed, bitten in bear attack

Created: 09/25/2014 5:21 PM
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CARPINTERIA, Calif. (AP) — A California woman is recovering from scratches, a bite and a broken rib after being attacked by a black bear that chased her dogs through an avocado grove.

Emily Miles was clawed on the back and bitten in the upper thigh around noon Monday in a rural area about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Miles displayed long, red scratches on her back to KEYT-TV (http://bit.ly/1pu5i05 ) this week.

"Looking at him, I knew he could kill me in an instant. He was probably 300 pounds and 6 feet tall, standing," she said. "He spared me, and I thank God he did."

Wildlife experts have set traps in an attempt to catch the bear. Any animal captured will have its DNA compared to samples left after the attack to determine whether it is the same bear. If it is the same bear, the animal will be killed and tested for rabies, said Janice Mackey, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

There had not been any previous reports of an aggressive bear in the area, which has a hiking trail, avocado orchards and forest, Mackey said.

There was "nothing to indicate that she was walking into a dangerous area," Mackey said.

Miles said she was taking her daily walk through an orchard in Rincon Canyon near her home, when her two dogs bolted out of the trees followed by the bear.

Then the bear stood on its hind legs and began swinging its paws at her as she tried to defend herself, she told KEYT-TV.

Miles said she then tried to escape and ran toward a gate.

"He took me down," she said. "He grabbed me, sunk his teeth into my thigh and knocked me down," causing her to break a rib.

"And then I was on my back, kicking my feet, flailing and yelling at the top of my lungs to get him away from me," she said.

The attack ended as suddenly as it had begun.

"It was standing on his hind legs, staring at me and I was looking at him and then he just went down on all four paws and then just walked away and he just kept looking back at me," she said.

Miles went to a friend's home nearby and was treated at a hospital.

The bear probably weighed 200 to 300 pounds and possibly was male but that detail won't be confirmed until it is captured, Mackey said.

It's also unclear what prompted the attack. Among other possibilities, the bear may have been seeking out food as it fattens up for winter and the dogs may have disturbed it, or the animal may have been defending its territory, Mackey said.

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Information from: KEYT-TV, http://www.keyt.com/

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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