A California Man Tackled And Punched A 350-Pound Bear In The Face To Save His Dog From An Attack

black bear

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A 90-pound pit bull named ‘Buddy’ is lucky to be alive after a run-in with a 350-pound bear in Nevada County, California. The dog’s owner heard a growl and witnessed a nightmare scenario, his rescue dog’s head was in the jaws of a massive bear who was dragging the dog away. So he did what any hero would do, he saved his dog’s life.

First off, 90 pounds is a HUGE pit bull. Those dogs run lean with muscle so that’s 90 pounds of muscle, not like my Bernese Mountain Dog that’s mostly hips and fur. In my mind, a 90-pound pit bull is a formidable force against other animals but size MATTERS when we’re talking about a bear that weighs 4x the dog.

The owner, Kaleb Bentham, spoke with CBS Sacramento about the terrifying encounter which took place on Thanksgiving. He told CBS how he heard the attack, tackled the bear, punched it in the face, and saved his dog’s life. But it was a holiday so they then needed to find an emergency vet quickly because the dog had injuries that required immediate attention:

“Honestly the only thing I could think of was ‘save my baby,’” Bentham said.
It was a tale of survival, the day before Thanksgiving. Benham said Buddy was outside playing near his home off You Bet Road when something just didn’t sound right. Buddy had come face to face with a 350-pound bear.
“I heard a growl, looked about 75-100 feet down, and the bear was dragging him by his head, had his head in his mouth,” Benham said.
That horror sunk in but didn’t paralyze him.
“I just ran down there, plowed into the bear, tackled it and grabbed it by the throat and started hitting it in the face and the eye until it let go,” Benham said.
Then came the desperate dash to find a vet. The first place Benham tried, which was closest to his house, had been closed down due to a positive COVID-19 case.
“My first thought was that I was going to lose him,” Benham said.
But Mother Lode Veterinary Hospital was ready for surgery as soon as Benham got there. Buddy needed staples, stitches and tubes inserted into his head to drain fluid.
“I just stood there and watched through the window for 3 1/2 for hours,” Benham said. (via CBS Local Sacramento)

According to the report, the dog’s making a swift recovery after being treated by a rescue vet but danger still looms because the bear is still out there and has been back to the house several times since the attack.

Buddy’s owner believes the bear feels as if he was robbed of his meal. He said he feels like “It made an attack and had its food and its food got taken from it and it wants it back.” That may or may not be the case but there’s really no way of knowing why that bear is in the area.

As a dog owner, I’d certainly make an attempt to save my dog from a bear attack but I think I’d likely sprint for a golf club or baseball bat before I thought to tackle a 350-pound bear. I’m sure the bear never expected to be tackled and was blindsided by that and didn’t have time to process how much bigger it was than the person but I’d still rather have some sort of weapon on hand before taking on a bear.