A 22-year-old Alaska woman who found her dachshund, Fudge, in the hands of a black bear on Sunday says she punched the bear in the face to save her pooch.
"It had her kind of like when they eat salmon," Brooke Collins told Reuters on Wednesday. "I was freaking out. I was screaming at it. My dog was screaming. I ran up to it ... I just punched it right in the snout and it let go."
Collins' boyfriend then apparently scared the bear away.
"I think it was more startled than anything," she said.
Collins, who lives in Juneau and works as a hairdresser, said she had seen the bear around her neighborhood before the incident in her yard on Sunday. Fudge was not seriously hurt, but Collins said she is keeping the dog inside for now.
Neil Barton, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, told Reuters that bear encounters were on the rise this year.
"This year, I think, is a lot worse than last year. I would attribute that to lack of a berry crop," Barten said. "If they are not available, the bears look for other sources of food."
The incident has brought Collins a great deal of attention. The Juneau Empire reports that CBS has contacted Collins about bringing her and Fudge to New York City. “The Late Show with David Letterman” has also reached out.
“This is overwhelming. I never thought this would happen,” Collins told the paper. “I feel like a celebrity.”