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Woman attacked by bear after falling asleep in backyard

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    Sierra Madre, CA (KCAL/KCBS) — A 19-year-old Sierra Madre woman was attacked by a bear Monday after falling asleep in her backyard.

“She awoke to the sound of an aggressive bear that was approaching her and then commenced an immediate attack on her,” Capt. Patrick Foy, of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said. “She ended up sustaining scratches to her arms and legs and then, ultimately, the bear bit into her leg.”

Foy said the woman hit the bear with her laptop, and it ran away.

“They didn’t provoke the animal, they didn’t get between the animal and its cubs, they didn’t attract it inadvertently with a strong odor of food,” Foy said. “This person was asleep with a laptop in her lap and was doing nothing that would be argued as inadvertently attracting this bear.”

The Department of Fish and Wildlife said it caught two bears Tuesday night in the area. If the DNA from either bear matches up with swabs taken from the victim’s bite mark, the bear will be euthanized.

People who live in the area said bear sightings are not uncommon.

“We had a couple bears that were locals,” Henry Nunez, a Monrovia resident, said. “They had names for them, and they would come sit in the jacuzzi. A little dangerous because people think they’re cute, but, you know, they are wild animals.”

The last time someone was attacked by a bear was April of 2019. In that case, an 84-year-old man experiencing homelessness was sleeping in a nearby campground when a bear attacked him. That bear was never found, but officials said they were not sure if it was the same bear from Monday’s attack.

“Even though that attack took place in 2019, and we had another attack two days ago, we still say this is a really, really rare occurrence for a bear to actually attack a person,” Foy said. “It just doesn’t happen often.”

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