WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. (WPIX) – A child was attacked and injured by a bear while playing in the backyard of a New York home on Tuesday, according to police and witnesses.
A neighbor who lives near the site of the attack described the terror he heard coming from the children involved.
“Screaming in the woods, very loud screaming. ‘Call 911.’ My wife heard that,” said the neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous.
The attack took place outside of a home in Westchester County, where the child had reportedly been playing with a little girl. The house is also surrounded by a wooded area, according to the neighbor.
“I didn’t know if the children were playing or it was something real, so I decided to go over,” the neighbor said.
The man told Nexstar’s WPIX that he immediately sprang into action, choosing to drive the short distance because he had a feeling a large animal could be involved. He was right. Upon arrival, he saw two frightened children trying to get away from a bear.
“I saw the children running to get into the house,” the neighbor said. “The bear was circling the house looking in the window. And when I pulled over, it came back around. So it definitely followed the children, trying to get into the house.”
Officials in the town of North Castle arrived and searched the area.
“The guy loaded up, went in the woods. Within 10 minutes I heard a gunshot. In a space of about one minute, I heard another gunshot. The bear was dead. Four officers picked it up in burlap and carried it out,” the neighbor said.
Police later confirmed the bear was euthanized by officers at the scene.
The neighbor described the animal as a medium-sized black bear. And although he only moved in a few days ago, he said he already knows bear sightings come with the territory.
“I’m going to be purchasing bear spray, keeping it on my pants, clipped on. God forbid it happens again. And if you have children, you definitely have to be prepared,” the neighbor said.
WPIX spoke to a relative of the child as he was leaving the house. The family did not want to be interviewed, he said, though he confirmed the child would be OK. A witness told WPIX the victim was a 7-year-old boy.
Police also said the child’s injuries were non-life-threatening.