Gig Harbor woman attacked by bear


by JOE FRYER / KING 5 News

Posted on November 7, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 8 at 7:51 AM

GIG HARBOR, Wash. – A woman was attacked by a bear Sunday morning as she walked her dog in Gig Harbor.

The attack occurred between 73rd Street Court and 78th Ave. NW in the Trinity Ridge development.

The woman was walking in a wooded area with her unleashed dog when bear appeared. The dog chased after the bear when they encountered it. The woman then went to retrieve the dog and got between the dog and the bear. The bear attacked.

Helen Barker's family was driving to church when they saw people helping an injured woman on the side of the road.

"There was blood seeping through and she said it really hurt," said Barker.

Both of the woman's arms and her backside were wounded.

"I could see that the back of her pants were shredded," said Barker.

Still, the woman was able to tell Barker what happened, that she was out for a walk when her dog ran into the brush.

"I don't think she knew what was in the brush, but she went after her dog.  And she was mauled by a bear," said Barker.

The woman was taken to a hospital, where, authorities say, her spirits are surprisingly high.

"What I told her was, whatever she did, she must've done right because she's up and talking," said Dan Brinson with the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife brought in dogs trained to find the bear. After a few hours, the dogs found no trace of it so authorities left traps in hopes of capturing it. If found it will be euthanized.

WDFW officials offer the following advice to minimize the risk of injury if a bear is encountered:

  • Don't run. Pick up small children, stand tall, wave your arms above your head and shout.
  • Do not approach the animal and be sure to leave it an escape route. Try to get upwind of the bear so that it can identify you as a human and leave the area.
  • Don’t look the bear directly in the eye, as the animal may interpret this as a sign of aggression.
  • If the animal does attack, fight back aggressively

More information is available at