Woman survives bear attack in Santa Barbara County

CARPINTERIA, Calif. (KABC) -- It was a terrifying encounter for a woman in Carpinteria as she came face-to-face with a massive black bear.

"Looking at him, I knew he could kill me in an instant. He was probably 300 pounds and 6 feet tall standing," said Miles.

The claw marks across her back are clear evidence she was lucky to escape.

"I was on my back kicking my feet, flailing and yelling at the top of my lungs to get him away from me," said Miles.

The drama unfolded Monday afternoon as Miles was on her daily walk through an avocado ranch near her home.

Black bears are common in the Southern California foothills. While mother bears and their cubs playing are common sights, violent encounters are very rare.

Miles knew she was in trouble when her two dogs came shooting out of the trees with the large adult bear right behind them.

The animal stood up, taking swings at miles.

"He took me down, he grabbed me, sunk his teeth into my thigh and knocked me down," she said.

She fought back, kicking and screaming. Then suddenly, the bear backed down.

"He was standing on his hind legs staring at me, and I was looking at him, and then he went down on all four paws and walked away, kept looking back at me," Miles said.

Miles made it to a friend's house to call for help, grateful she lived to tell her tale.

"He spared me, and I thank god he did," she said.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has set traps to catch the bear and test it for rabies.

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