Bear attacks dog, prompting dog owner to go after bear; other attacks follow

"I've never had a fear of black bears."

A 68-year-old man walking his dog in northern Minnesota didn't have time to think about shooting a black bear that pounced on his dog, he immediately went after the bear.

"He had his jaws on her stomach and her throat," Bill Vagts recalled to the St. Cloud Times. "Her eyes were as big as saucers.

"I run toward the bear on his right and grab the bear around the neck with both my arms and pulled him off my dog...I've never had a fear of black bears."

When the bear bit him in the abdomen, Vagts let go of the bear, which took off down the road.

The St. Cloud Times reported that Vagts keeps a loaded shotgun by his front door and sometimes wears a sidearm, but those were not an option.

"There was absolutely no time to think about [shooting the bear]," he told the newspaper. "If I had thought about it for two-three seconds, I would have watched that bear tear my dog apart."

The dog, a 30-pound Corgi named Darla, survived the bite wound, as did Vagts. But they weren't the only victims in the encounter near Isabella. Two men were attacked down the road near McDougal Lake.

From the St. Cloud Times:

At a residential garage construction site, Ely-based carpenters 58-year-old Daniel C. Boedeker and 54-year-old Gary N. Jerich tangled with the bear, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The animal first attacked Jerich, and Boedeker was bitten on the arm while coming to the rescue of his co-worker.

The bear again took off but was soon located in the vicinity, and a deputy shot it shortly after noon, the Sheriff’s Office said. The bear will undergo a necropsy at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities for a necropsy, which may reveal clues about why it was not hibernating.

Instances of bears attacking humans in Minnesota are extremely rare, Provost said.

WCCO-TV CBS reported that the bear was female and weighed 200 pounds.

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