Maine woman punches bear that chased her dog and ends up with stitches

PORTER, Maine (AP) — A Maine woman was bitten by a bear in her backyard while defending her pet dog, necessitating a trip to the hospital for stitches, officials said Friday.

Lynn Kelly, 64, was tending her garden in Porter when her dog took off into the woods barking at something on Friday. In short order, the dog was racing back to the yard with a black bear in hot pursuit, said Mark Latti, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Kelly stood and made herself appear large, which is recommended in a black bear encounter. But instead of slowly retreating, she proceeded to confront the bear, which is not recommended, Latti said.

The bear briefly latched onto Kelly’s wrist after she punched the animal on the nose, and she received stitches for the wound at Memorial Hospital in North Conway, New Hampshire, he said.

It’s rare for someone to be bitten by a bear in Maine even though the state has one of the largest black bear populations on the eastern seaboard, Latti said. Encounters with bears can be reduced by removing or securing bird feeders, garbage, pet food and other things that attract bears’ attention.