A 7-year-old boy was attacked by a bear in the backyard of his Westchester County, New York, home and taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries Tuesday morning, police said.
The child was in the yard of the North Castle home when he was attacked around 11:16 a.m., the North Castle Police Department said in a news release. Authorities did not release specifics on the boy’s injuries.
“The parents were right there and assisted the child fearlessly,” North Castle Police Chief Peter Simonsen told CNN affiliate WABC.
Officers responding to a 911 call about the attack arrived to find the bear still in the yard, police said.
The bear “continued to present a danger to first responders and area residents” and was euthanized at the scene, police said.
“Our concern was he did not retreat, so at one point he did advance and when you have that many human beings, I would think that an animal of that kind would normally retreat and it did not,” Simonsen told WABC. “The normal reaction of bears is to run away, especially with heightened activity and noise, they usually retreat.”
The bear was taken to the Westchester County Department of Health to be tested for rabies, according to a spokesperson for the health department.
The bear was described as a male black bear larger than a cub but not yet an adult, WABC reported.
Black bears generally prefer to forage for wild foods away from people and attacks are rare, according to the US Forest Service.
“More often than not, a wild bear will detect you first and flee from the area,” the forest service notes. “However, black bears that have become accustomed to humans and their foods may not run away.”
The agency advises those who encounter black bears to remain calm, continue facing the animal, make lots of noise and slowly back away while keeping children and pets close, among other tips.
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