LONGWOOD, Fla. (WOFL) - Terri Gurley will be okay, but has the story of a lifetime to tell after she was bitten by a bear at an apartment complex in the Sabal Point neighborhood in the early morning hours Friday.
The woman was walking her dog, an Akita German Shepard mix. She went to dump the dog's droppings in the complex garbage dumpster when she was surprised by a 300-plus pound female black bear and a yearling cub.
“I went to turned around and my dog jerked my arm, and I turned around and there she was. Well the dog naturally goes at the bear, and I’m pulling on her leash because I don’t want her to get hurt, and they told us to walk backwards you know, and I tripped and I fell, and uh, her face was right there.”
Gurley was stunned to be looking that bear in the eye.
“Her face was right there, and I rolled, because I fell on my back. I rolled over because I saw her face. She bit me in my butt!”
She told us about the fear she felt knowing it was a bear and she was on the ground.
“Oh my God. It wasn’t until after she bit me I was like Oh my God. I didn’t know. I was just so afraid she was going to get on my back."
Gurley was able to get out of the situation safely. Kristin Reeves was the first to call 911.
“We were just woken up by blood curdling screams, and then I heard ‘Help me Help me’.”
According to Reeves when the attack was over, the bear did not run.
“He was in there munching away. There was at least one more over there in the tree, next to the dumpster there right behind it... it looked like a cub... it scares the daylights out of me. I told my husband I want to move.”
Joy Hill with Florida Fish and Wildlife says with Wekiwa Springs State Park so close, they know all about the bears in this area.
“That is bear central. We have a very very good, healthy population of bears in there. There is food in there for them to eat, but all of this is so tempting. So what we have is a lot of people, a lot of bears, and a lot of attractants.”
Traps are now out for both the mother and the yearling cub, and once the mother is caught, Hill says they have choice since a human was bitten.
“Unfortunately when a bear bites someone like this, we have to put it down.”
They'll make a decision later about the cub, but it could also be euthanized since it has grown up eating garbage. Terri Gurley had to go for rabies shots, but has a healthy attitude about the entire incident.
“Oh for the grace of God I’m standing here, and it was just my butt.”