Bear attacks 19-year-old woman taking nap in backyard in Southern California

Investigators collected bear DNA from the woman's wounds and are now checking to see if matches that of a bear trapped Tuesday in the area.
SIERRA MADRE, Calif. (KABC) -- If you live in Sierra Madre, you live with bears. They are common visitors to the neighborhoods pressed up against the San Gabriel Mountains.

But on Monday, a bear did something you rarely hear about: It attacked a 19-year old woman who had fallen asleep in her backyard.

"The bear really viciously started to scratch her and then started to bite into her and the only thing she could do is to grab her laptop and start hitting the bear with it. And that managed to break the bear loose and she ran inside," said Capt. Patrick Foy of the California Fish and Wildlife Department.

Capt. Foy says that woman is now home recovering from the attack.

Investigators collected bear DNA from the woman's wounds and are now checking to see if it matches that of a bear trapped Tuesday in the area.

"If that bear does come back a positive match to the bear that attacked and bit this young woman, it would be euthanized in the interest of public safety."

Wildlife attacks may be rare, but seemingly less so this year. California has seen a higher than normal number of dangerous animal interactions.

"We've had three mountain lion attacks in California since January and we've had one coyote attack in Orange County and this bear attack two days ago. It's not something that's common."

In the meantime, the nearby Chantry Flat hiking area was packed with people.

When asked if worried about encountering potentially dangerous wildlife, one woman shrugged it off.

"I'm not too concerned. I'm going with a few people so we're just going to be aware of our surroundings and this is their home so we'll just respect it," said Christina DeLeon of Lakewood.

This week's bear attack happened in the same area where a homeless man was attacked by a bear a year ago.

Experts warn that bears may look cute, but if you come across one, make yourself big and make as much noise as possible. Do not be timid.

"If a person is actually attacked we tell people, fight back. Fight back as if your life depends on it," Capt. Foy said.

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