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A Teen Shoves A Bear To Save Her Family's Dogs

A 17-year-old Southern California girl got in a shoving match with a bear to protect her dogs and walked away nearly unscathed.

Hailey Morinico and her mother were gardening in their backyard in Bradbury, Calif., on Monday afternoon when a bear and her cubs began walking atop a cinder block wall at one end of the garden.

Video of the terrifying encounter shows that the appearance of the family of California black bears on the short wall set off one of Morinico's dogs, which began barking and lunging at them. Mama bear, in turn, started swatting at the large dog and three small ones that had joined the canine vs. ursine confrontation.

The commotion caught Morinico's attention, and without thinking, she told KTLA news, she ran over to defend the family pets.

"I run to see what they're barking at, and it's not a dog — it's a bear," she said.

"I see the bear, it's grabbing my dog, Valentina, and I have to run over there. She's a baby," Morinico said. "And the first thing I think to do is push the bear. And somehow it worked."

Morinico threw her hands up in the air and pushed the large bear off the wall. (The cubs, frightened by the loud barking, had already high-tailed it away from the scene.) Morinico then scooped up one of the smaller dogs, and she and the pets all ran in the opposite direction.

The teen said she is lucky to have walked away with only a sprained finger and a scraped knee.

Her advice: Do not push bears. "Don't do what I did — you might not have the same outcome."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.
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