[caption id="attachment_75200" align="aligncenter" width="635"] WESH
Susan Chalfant was attacked by a bear while walking her dog as her horrified neighbors watched.
[/caption]Florida bear attack: Woman Mauled in Incident with Bear
A Florida woman sustained severe injuries to her face after being mauled by a large animal. Officials are not yet certain the animal was a bear, but are searching and setting traps around the city of Longwood.
Susan Chalfant, 54, was injured while taking her dogs for a walk. She went to a neighbor's home for help and is currently being treated in a local hospital. The mauling left her face damaged and bloodied.
Karen Parker, a spokesperson for Florida Fish and Wildlife, stated that because officials are unclear what caused the incident, they are not calling it a bear attack. She also explained that bears are elusive animals and are generally afraid of humans. Biologists claim human encroachment in bear territory has led to the unpleasant encounters.
Nearby neighbors claim to see bears regularly, mostly on nights before the garbage is collected. Parker said that until people are more compliant about securing trash, bears would continue to come around looking for food.
"Small dogs in a panic. It just kept escalating. I didn't hear a human voice until I got outside," he told WESH.com. When he saw Chalfant, he said she was "bleeding from the head" — and was petrified her pets had been killed.
Chalfant's encounter is rare, as there is only one other documented black bear attack on record. It occurred last year, on a 12-year-old victim. If the bear that mauled Chalfant is found, it will probably be euthanized.
[caption id="attachment_75202" align="aligncenter" width="635"] ABC NEWS
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is investigating the attack. If the bear is found, it will likely be euthanized.
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