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Watch: Southern California teen shoves bear off wall to protect dogs in back yard

There were no injuries in the close encounter at the home east of Los Angeles. The teen said she acted to protect her dogs.
Posted at 8:02 AM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 09:02:24-04

A Southern California teen pushed a bear off a wall after it got into an encounter with the dogs at the family's home over the weekend.

The incident in the foothills in the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles, was caught on home surveillance video.

Hailey Morinico thought her dogs were barking at other dogs, or a squirrel, but discovered it was a bear and two cubs they were barking at.

"I was like 'Oh my God, there's a bear, and it is taking my dog. It is lifting her up off the ground,'" Hailey told NBC Los Angeles.

The video shows the bears walking on the wall outside the home in Bradbury, a city that abuts the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains.

The dogs run at the bear and begin barking, the cubs retreat, and the bear appears to swipe at and pick up a small dog before Hailey runs and pushes the bear, which falls off the wall on the other side.

"The dog that the bear grabbed, she's the baby," Hailey told the station. "I have to protect the baby."

The bear, an American black bear, is an adult and probably weighs 150 pounds, said Rebecca Barboza, a wildlife biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The bears are common in communities near their natural habitats, like Bradbury, and in urban areas where they are seen those bears "pretty much use it as their home range," she said.

Barboza said from the video, it appears the dogs provoked the encounter and no action will be taken against the bear.

"The bear was protecting her cubs, she was reacting to protect her cubs and the dogs of course were reacting to protect their territory," she said.

The wildlife agency says that if a bear breaks into a home people should not confront it. If a bear is in a yard, people are advised to keep their distance and not approach.

People should never approach a bear, especially one with cubs, Barboza said. In places with bears, it's a good idea to keep pets inside.

California's black bear population is estimated around 30,000 to 40,000, the fish and wildlife department said. It's not known how many live in the Angeles National Forest, but there is a study underway to hopefully find that number, Barboza said.