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Bear attacks couple in living room
01:35 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

The attack occurred at 3 a.m. Monday in rural Oliver Township, a victim and official say

A man says the bear attacked him, then his wife, after chasing his dog into his home

At one point, the bear went outside and sat on the patio; it remains at large

The couple have returned home from the hospital, after being treated for various injuries

CNN  — 

A black bear early Monday chased a family dog into its central Pennsylvania home, where it attacked a husband and wife inside, according to the state game commission and one of the victims.

Richard Moyer told CNN that he woke up – as usual – at 3 a.m. Monday to get ready for work and let out the dog, Brindy, a husky and pit bull mix. The dog sped off outside into the dark woods around the family home in rural Oliver Township, then began to bark and growl.

“It was a mean type of bark, a growl, I just thought, ‘Something isn’t right,’” Moyer said.

Moyer got a spotlight to see what was going on. As he shined the light into the morning mist, Brindy suddenly came running back toward the house – followed, closely behind, by a black bear.

The bear chased the dog into the house, where Moyer said it attacked him. The melee woke Moyer’s wife Angela, who came down from any upstairs bedroom to help her husband.

Then, the bear turned on Angela Moyer. When it did, Brindy jumped on the bear. At that point, Richard Moyer said he rejoined the fray.

“What are you going to do? I kept my head down and just leapt into the bear,” he said.

According to Moyer, the bear became especially aggressive – grabbing and biting him, as well as clawing at his back and head.

That was until, suddenly, the bear walked outside to the patio and simply sat down.

“If it had wanted to kill me I think it had have gone ahead and done it,” said Moyer. “I guess (the bear) was just ticked off at the dog and came after me”

State police eventually arrived on the scene along with ambulances, which took the Moyers to Harrisburg Hospital. By then, the bear had left.

Angela Moyer was bitten several times and was treated for a cracked vertebra, according to her husband. He added that doctors put in 37 staples extending from one side of the back of his head to the other, in addition to puncture wounds from the bear’s claws and teeth.

Despite those injuries, by day’s end both husband and wife had left the hospital and were home.

There, they reunited with their 10-year-old son, who missed the ordeal.

“He’s a heavy sleeper, I guess,” said Richard Moyer.

Pennsylvania Game Commission spokesman Gerald Feaser said that black bears are not rare sight in and around Perry County, which he described as “very rural.” “To give you an idea, there is one stoplight, and when that happened it was a big shock,” he said.

But it’s not often that they attack, said Feaser, claiming that black bears “are more timid” than others elsewhere, including in the western United States.

“Usually a bear would be more likely to run from a person or a dog than confront a person or a dog,” he continued. “The root cause of most bear encounters in Pennsylvania have been dogs, but usually if a bear smells human scent they’ll tuck tail and run.”

Feaser said that the Game Commission suspects that the Oliver Township attack was a special circumstance, suspecting that it was likely a female attempting to defend her cubs. He also said there is a “remote chance” that the bear may have rabies.

Feaser said that a Game Commission officer is out in the area setting traps but, as of late Monday afternoon, the bear remained at large. The only way to test an animal for rabies is after it is dead, meaning that – if caught – the bear would likely be killed.

“Public health and safety is our main concern,” he said. “If caught, the animal will probably be put down.”

As to family it attacked, Richard Moyer said matter-of-factly, “We’re going to be OK.”

“What are the chances?” he added. “I can’t win the lottery, but I can get attacked by a bear.”