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Woman attacked by bear in Pennsylvania's Butler Township shares how she escaped

Bear attacks woman in Butler County
Bear attacks woman in Butler County 02:45

BUTLER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) -- A woman who survived a bear attack outside her Butler County home is sharing her story. 

Lee Ann Galante is in the hospital recovering from a number of horrific bite and scratch wounds suffered after a mother black bear mauled her in her own Butler Township yard.

"It was very terrifying," she said. "I honestly didn't think I was going to make it. I couldn't believe this was happening." 

The attack happened around 8:30 Tuesday. According to Galante, she had just let her dog Smokey out when she saw three large bear cubs. What she didn't see was the cubs' mother.

"She was very very powerful and very very angry," Galante said. 

At first, the bear was after Smokey.

"I don't want her to eat my dog," Galante said.

Smokey got away. Galante couldn't as the bear set its eyes on the 55-year-old. She told KDKA-TV she had no escape.

"She came up behind me and she pushed me down, and my face went smack right into our cement," she said.

"Then she got me by the back of the head and she was pulling so hard on it I thought I was going to get scalped," she said. 

Galante thinks her dog Smokey distracted the mother bear, giving Galante the seconds she needed to get in her home and survive. 

"She was ready to charge again. Thank God we got in the house," Galante said.

"She has a fair amount of puncture wounds on the back of her neck, on her arm itself and pretty significant tears and lacerations across her scalp. And she also has several broken bones of her nose and her face," said AHN trauma surgeon Dr. Jennifer Chen.

Despite the fact she was mauled and almost killed by a bear, Galante's main concern is an upcoming trip. Her attending physician hasn't ruled it out. 

"She's going on a big trip to Italy. I said, 'hopefully, let's aim for that,'" Chen said, adding, "She's a trooper."

The Game Commission says the bear was likely being protective of her cubs and hungry. The numerous bird feeders likely proved tempting. The Game Commission euthanized the adult bear. It's three cubs are yearlings and are going to be released into the wild eventually. As for Smokey the dog -- he escaped without a scratch.

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