California teen fights off bear to save her dogs

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 9:22 PM EDT
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(KCBS) - A very brave California teen took on a mama bear in her backyard when her dogs got in way over their heads.

It was all caught on video.

A mama bear was walking on a backyard wall with her two cubs when the homeowner’s three dogs rush toward her.

The bear was trying to protect her babies and picked up one of the dogs by its vest.

Hailey Morinico, 17, lunged at the bear and pushed her off the ledge.

“In that moment, I don’t have much time to think,” she said. “I run over to the bear and the first thing I think to do is to push the bear off the ledge it’s standing on, and hopefully it will release my dog. And somehow it works.”

She then picked up her dog and ran inside.

“Honestly, the only thing I had in mind was to protect my dogs and that’s what I did,” she said.

Her frantic parents can be heard shouting at her in the background.

“It’s horrifying to see your daughter approach a huge bear and just thinking that the bear could have swiped at her face and we would be having another kind of news today,” Citlally Morinico, her mother, said.

Wildlife experts say the bear was simply trying to protect her cubs.

California only has American black bears.

“And they are not inherently aggressive toward humans or our pets,” Rebecca Barboza, a wildlife biologist at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said. “She was reacting to the perceived threat of the dogs, and if this animal was inherently aggressive, those dogs probably would have been attacked and not just swiped at.”

“Do not push bears. Do not get close to bears. You do not want to get unlucky. I just happened to come out unscathed,” Hailey Morinico said.

Experts says this is the time of year when black bears wake up from semi-hibernation, making bear sightings more common.

It’s best to keep your pets indoors and if you do come face to face with a bear, do not touch it.

Instead, make a lot of noise to scare it away.

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