Urgent hunt for bear that mauled Fla. woman in garage

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by ABC News

WVEC.com

Posted on April 14, 2014 at 11:00 AM

(ABC News) --  The hunt is on today for a black bear who mauled a woman at her home in an upscale central Florida neighborhood, leaving her with injuries to her face, legs and torso and requiring her to get 40 stitches to the head.

Terri Frana of Lake Mary, Fla., went to her garage Saturday evening to grab bicycles for her children to ride down to their neighbor's house when the attack happened, according to her husband, Frank Frana.

As soon as the children left, Frana, 45, saw two bears in the driveway. She walked to the patio area where there were five bears eating trash that they had pulled out of the garage, her husband said.

"The bear got up on [its] hind legs and started to maul her, opened its jaws and put her head in the mouth and dragged her towards the woods," Frank Frana said. "Somehow she was able to pull herself out."

"The bears were various sizes so we think it's probably cubs of different maturity and perhaps a mama bear," the Seminole County Sheriff's Office told ABC News.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said there was at least one bear involved in the attack but couldn't corroborate the report that there had been five bears.

Frana managed to get inside the house, said her husband. Her son found her collapsed in the living room and called 911. She was then taken to a local hospital where she was treated for at least three bear bites and several cuts all over her body.

Frana was released from the hospital Sunday morning and is recovering at home, her husband said.

Wildlife officials are concentrating on finding the bears, and put out traps and searched for them throughout the night.

A neighborhood resident said an injured mother bear had recently been seen in the area.

"We've had a new bear here recently who is a mama bear and she has got two small cubs and she has got a lame left foot so, it would appear to me that she has three reasons to be aggressive," Doug Cifers said.

The attack happened in an area 10 miles from where another woman, 54-year-old Susan Chalfant, was mauled by a black bear while walking her dogs last December.

In the last five years, bear sightings in Florida have doubled to nearly 6,200 a year. Last summer, teenager Abigail Whetherall was also mauled by a bear after unsuccessfully trying to play dead.

Black bear attacks on humans are highly unusual and occur mainly when a bear feels her cubs are threatened, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

People who are attacked by black bears are encouraged to stand their ground and not back away or play dead.

"One of biggest myths is play dead, don't do that; they eat dead animals," Police officer David Shultz told ABC News' Linzie Janis. "If you see them, make a lot of noise from a safe distance. Never try to outrun, they will outrun, outclimb. Come in contact with one, you want to back up slowly and if he keeps coming at you just act as big as you can."

ABC News' Gillian Mohney contributed to this report.

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