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Woman thought she was ‘going to die’ after bear jumped garden fence and attacked her

A woman has told how she thought she was “going to die” after a mother bear jumped over her garden fence, knocked her to the ground and started biting the back of her head.

Lee Ann Galante thought the bear was going to “scalp” her during the attack in the back garden of her home in Butler Township, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night.

The 55-year-old was letting her Pomeranian, called Smokie, outside for a walk before the dog started causing a commotion.

Ms Galante then looked over and saw the silhouette of three bear cubs in a neighbour’s tree before their mother emerged “out of the dark”.

“I see this big bear just jump over the fence, and there’s Smokie. So I start screaming, ‘Smokie, Smokie'”, she told local TV news station WPXI from Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Ms Galante said the bear then charged at her and knocked her face-first on to the concrete.

“She bites the back of my head so hard that I thought she was going to scalp me,” she added.

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“I just kept thinking: ‘I can’t believe this is happening. This can’t be happening. I’m being attacked by a bear’.

“I thought, ‘This is it – I’m going to die.'”

Ms Galante said the bear kept switching her attention from her to her small dog.

At one stage the bear managed to get close to Smokie, before rushing at Ms Galante, knocking her to the ground again and biting her left arm.

Ms Galante said Smokie “kept distracting” the bear, adding: “I’m just so thankful he wasn’t really hurt.”

They were eventually able to get back inside the house before the dog owner crawled to a phone and dialled for the emergency services.

Ms Galante was taken to hospital where she had dozens of surgical staples applied to the back of her head.

She also suffered a broken nose, had cuts inside her mouth, puncture wounds on her arm and scrapes and scratches all over.

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Mr Galante said the bear was “very aggressive and very strong,” adding: “It was horrible.”

The mother bear and her three cubs were found in a tree in the immediate area after the attack, police said.

“The female bear continued with her aggression,” officers added, prompting the Pennsylvania Game Commission to euthanise her.

The cubs are expected to be released in an unknown location after they were tranquilised by the game commission.

Ms Galante said that weeks before the attack her neighbours had captured a mother bear and her cubs on their home cameras and had seen the animals access a bird feeder.

However the bears had not been seen since.

Michael Vero, one of Ms Galante’s neighbours, said it “was nerve-wracking to hear her screaming” during the attack.

He said bears had been in the area for a few weeks and he was nervous for his children’s safety.

“I was on edge then; now that they’re out of here, it makes me feel a little better,” he said.

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