A HEROIC dog owner, 81, was attacked by bears as she tried to save two pooches from being mauled by the animals near her New Jersey home.
The woman went after two black bears on her property in Sparta, NJ, in an attempt to protect the dogs, but tragically, one did not survive.
The woman sustained just minor injuries to her legs and scratches to her head, according to ABC 7.
The fight broke out on Monday when the woman was taking out her garbage and let her dogs out in the back yard.
Bears typically come out in the area when residents leave their garbage outside.
According to the outlet, the pair of dogs went after the bears when they spotted them outside going through some garbage.
One of the bears took off, but another stayed and got into a scuffle with the woman's English Springer Spaniel.
The woman then jumped into action, attempting to rescue her pup from the bear.
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The dog was sadly found dead in the woods near the woman's home by officers later that day.
The woman was treated at a nearby hospital, and her other dog was not harmed in the attack.
Bears in the area are typically in hibernation at this time of year.
Unusually warm temperatures at the beginning of winter may have kept this pair awake longer.
The attack is being investigated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Because the bear made contact with the woman, the division has labeled the bear "Category 1," which means it will be trapped and euthanized to protect the public.
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