Bear Barges Into Virginia Home

A Harrisonburg, Va., family is still cleaning up from a weekend visit from a 200-pound bear that came charging through their back door, trashed their home and bit their dog.

"She has numerous puncture wounds on her hip, on her stomach and a few on her back leg," says Karla Irving about her dog who was attacked Saturday by the bear. "She was immediately rushed to the emergency veterinarian hospital, and she's recovering well right now."

Karla Irving was walking her dog, Rosie, around 9:45 p.m., and she apparently got between a mother bear and her cub, which was in her backyard.

"The dog alerted me," Irving tells The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen. "She began barking at something that was near a tree in my backyard. I looked up, and something was going up the tree. I thought it was a raccoon but it was way too black and way too large to be a raccoon."

Irving believes Rosie noticed the other bear on the opposite side of the fence before she did, because Rosie quickly started running toward the house and went in.

"When she ran, I ran, too," she says. "About that time, the mother bear came over the fence, took about three steps and was pushing on the door, as I was trying to shut the door."

The bear brought the door down and followed Rosie all the way to the basement, while Karla Irving managed to sneak out to the back yard, shutting the door behind her and alerting the family.

Her 82-year-old mother, Margaret Vest, was watching TV, and her husband, David, was taking a bath.

"Actually, I was taking a bath right above where the bear was," David Irving tells Chen. "I knew something was wrong. I felt a lot of vibrations and shaking. I thought my mother-in-law had fallen down the stairs. I heard muffled screams. So I ran out with a towel and ran downstairs to see what was going on."

The bear was trapped in a bedroom, thanks to Vest, who heard her daughter yelling from outside the house for her to shut the bedroom door. Rosie by then had managed to escape the bear.

David Irving soon found out from his wife that there was one bear inside and another one outside their home. So he quickly called 911.

The bear was in the house for 40 minutes before deputies chased it out. It destroyed a bedroom as it tried to get out of the house; it banged against the window; ripped out the wooden blinds; and left claw marks on the wall.

David Irving says, "The police opened the door. I was upstairs filming and looking out, trying to figure out how I could help. And I thought this bear is not going to find its way out of the house. So I got on the intercom and paged the bedroom the bear was in, and shouted at the bear, and told the bear to leave; then, started making animal noises."

The Irvings say after the game warden and the police left, the mother bear was still outside. He believes the bears were attracted to the bird feeder they have in their yard.

"After the game warden and the cops left, the bear was still outside," David Irving says. "The warden says that if the bear is still around in two weeks, they will come and trap it, and take it away, but I know the bear has cubs and was just trying to protect her baby."
  • Tatiana Morales

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