Animal Attacks photo

A western Maryland family endured a harrowing experience with an overly aggressive black bear last week, after the bruin charged their house and tried to get inside. The animal was later diagnosed with rabies, making it the first bear to test positive for the disease in state history.

Mike Sawyers, my longtime friend and outdoors editor for the Cumberland Times-News, alerted me this morning to his report of the attack and subsequent killing of the rabid bear.Bearstand

On Thursday evening last week, homeowners Mike and Charlotte Stanton of Grantsville heard a commotion outside and saw a bear attempting to get into their goat pen. When they yelled at the bear from the doorway, it wheeled around and charged the house.

“At first it was pushing on the door and I was holding onto the handle from inside,” Ms. Stanton told reporter Sawyers. “Mike was going to the gun room to get a gun.”

Then the bear left the door and attempted to pull an air-conditioning unit out of a window.

“I was pulling from inside and the bear was pulling on it from outside when Mike got there with the gun,” she said. “There was just enough room to stick out the gun barrel beside the air conditioner, but you couldn’t aim it. He just stuck (his shotgun) out there and shot and it flattened the bear.”

Stanton’s blast with No. 4 shot severely wounded the bear, which was later tracked and killed by a Natural Resources Police officer responding to the family’s 911 call.

Stanton family members who handled the bear’s carcass and cleaned up blood after the incident will undergo follow-up rabies treatment, Sawyers reported.

In retrospect, the Stantons were just grateful that neither they nor their two young children were outside when the bear charged their home.

“It’s a good thing none of us were in the yard or you’d have dead people up here,” Mrs. Stanton said.