Swannanoa, NC (WLOS) — According to NC wildlife authorities, a black bear attacked a woman near her home on in the Eastwood Avenue area on Tuesday, September 18 at around 10:30 p.m.
A Wildlife Resources representative says that as a woman and her dog approached her vehicle, the woman saw three bear cubs. Watch our interview with Toni Rhegness, the woman who was attacked, here.
When Rhegness yelled at the cubs to leave, a female bear came around the car and knocked her to the ground.
Rhegness suffered claw scratches to her shoulder, knee, head and calves. Her husband drove her to Mission Hospital, where she was treated and released that same night.
Wildlife officer Shawn Martin says the bears had been feeding on trash left out in the neighborhood. He also says this was not a predatory attack, but a protective attack.
After the incident, wildlife officials set traps for the bears, and canvassed the neighborhood to alert residents.
On Saturday, two of the three cubs were trapped and relocated to a wilderness area.
Early Sunday morning, the female bear and the and third cub were trapped. The third cub will also be relocated.
If testing determines that the female bear attacked the woman, it will be euthanized.
A black bear killed a Black Mountain family’s dog in August of this year. In May of this year, a black bear attacked and seriously injured a 5-year-old Colorado girl.
Some wildlife experts theorize that heavy rains and food shortages could be causing more bear sightings this year.