Things That Matter

California Teen Fights Off Bear To Save Her Dogs And Dog Parents All Over Can Relate

A wild video has gone viral showing a California teen literally pushing a giant black bear off a wall to protect her family’s dogs. It’s a move that many of us proud and loving dog parents would probably make in the same situation but it underscores just how dangerous the situation was for both the dogs and the teen.

Hailey Morinico made a split-second decision to step in and save her dogs from a potential bear attack.

Security footage from a California home shows the incredible interaction between the 17-year-old girl and a very protective mother bear who ventured into Morinico’s backyard. The mama bear enters along a wall with cubs in tow which obviously set off the family’s dogs, who began barking and lunging at the bear family. Of course, the mama bear gets upset and starts swatting with her bear claws at the large dog and the three smaller ones who had joined in on the confrontation.

Fearing for her dogs’ safety, Morinico joined the fray after hearing the frantic barking. She can be seen running toward the bear and shoving the animal in a response she said was the result of pure instinct to protect her dogs, in a statement to NBC News.

“I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a bear and it is taking my dog. It is lifting it up off the ground,’” Hailey said. “In that split second, I decided to push the bear, like it was nothing, apparently. “I pick up my other dog and I scram.”

Though it’s something that many pet parents would probably do in the same situation, Morinico advises people not to do the same.

Although she escaped relatively unscathed, suffering a sprained finger and scraped knee, she wouldn’t advise anyone to follow her example. “Do not push bears and do not get close to bears,” she told KCAL-TV. “You do not want to get unlucky. I just happened to come out unscathed.”

And wildlife experts agree. Although human-bear encounters are relatively rare, an encounter and quickly turn deadly. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has a list of tips and general guidelines to follow regarding bear encounters.

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