Bear Attacks Man and Dog in George Washington National Forest

HARDY COUNTY, W.Va. - A man and his dog were attacked by a black bear Thursday afternoon in a wooded area of the George Washington National Forest in Hardy County, West Virginia, near Rt. 55. 

According to the Frederick County Sheriff's Office in Virginia, the man identified as Steven Krichbaum, 59, of Staunton, Va., was walking in the woods with his dog when they came upon a black bear and two cubs. The black bear in response to Krichbaum and his dog's presence, attacked them. Krichbaum and his dog attempted to fend off the attack and were subsequently injured in the process. 

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries came out with more information on the attack Friday morning. They said bears and dogs have a long antagonistic history, and the confrontation between the dog, bear, and man in Hardy County Thursday was unfortunately a symptom of such a relationship. 

Officials said black bears, normally docile and shy animals, typically avoid confrontation with humans. They said in this case Krichbaum was on national forest land in an area known to have a healthy bear population with an unleashed dog. After disturbing a family of bears, the dog reportedly chased after and began attacking the cubs. As a result, the female bear charged at the man, officials say. 

When the dog began attacking the female bear, it gave the man a chance to find a rock and hit the bear in order to scare her off, they said. 

In a written release, members with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries stated, "While this situation is tragic, there would have likely been a far different outcome were the dog not involved." They also went on the say, "It is important to note that this type of confrontation is extremely rare."

Both Krichbaum and his dog were severely injured. Krichbaum and the dog were able to make their way to his parked vehicle and drive to Richards Fruit Market, located at 6410 Middle Road in Frederick County, Virginia, in an attempt to get medical assistance. 

The Frederick County Sheriff's Office, along with Frederick County Animal Control responded. Krichbaum was transported by rescue squad to Winchester Medical Center for treatment. His dog was taken by the Frederick County Sheriff's Animal Control unit to a local emergency animal hospital. 

For more information on how you can follow simple steps to keep bears from being attracted to areas around homes or recreational areas, click here

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