Pennsylvania woman almost scalped by ‘aggressive’ momma bear

An unlikely little hero saved the life of a Pennsylvania woman who was attacked in her backyard by a protective momma bear.

Smokie, an eight-pound Pomeranian, was barking at three large figures in the trees when something more frightening launched over the fence and charged at his human mom, Lee Ann Galante.

Galante, whose head was clutched in the mighty jaws of an American black bear, thought she would be scalped and killed. But the tiny black dog was a fierce adversary and drew the attention of the bear, long enough for Galante to escape the bear’s deadly grip. Keep reading to learn how this little hero saved his momma!

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Weeks before the brutal bear attack on March 5, residents in Pennsylvania’s Butler Township were buzzing about a momma bear with three cubs, who were leaving a trail of destruction behind them.

Since it had been weeks when the family of American black bears were last seen, Lee Ann Galante – whose home is the wooded area – said she believed the beasts “had moved on.”

But much to her misfortune she was proven otherwise.

Credit: Getty.

On the evening of the mauling, Galante let Smokie, her tiny black Pomeranian, out in the yard for his routine nighttime potty break.

Oftentimes vocal, Galante, 55, explains that this night, Smokie’s barks were directed at a tree in her neighbor’s yard, which was separated from hers by a fence.

That was when she saw three dark silhouettes in the tree.

Seconds after seeing the “huge” cubs, something more horrifying launched over her fence.

“Out of the dark, I see this big bear just jump over the fence, and there’s Smokie. So I start screaming, ‘Smokie, Smokie,’” she told NBC News.

She adds, “I didn’t want her to eat my baby and if she took one bite, he would be dead.”

Almost scalped her

Charging at Galante, the momma bear pinned her down, face first into the cement of her back porch.

“It was just so fast. She was so aggressive. She was all over me,” Galante told local news. “She bites the back of my head so hard that I thought she was going to scalp me.”

Recalling her terrifying experience, she adds, “I just kept thinking, ‘I can’t believe this is happening. This can’t be happening. I’m being attacked by a bear.’ I thought, ‘This is it, I’m going to die.’”

But the brave little dog had other plans and “kept distracting” the black bear, who was about 350 pounds larger.

Distracting the fierce beast, Galante said the bear kept switching her attention from her to Smokie.

At one point, the bear managed to get close to Smokie, but her focus again shifted to Galante.

Rushing her, the aggressive creature knocked her down and gripped her left arm.

“She had me down. She bit my arm. She was on top of me,” the woman said.

Smokie didn’t give up and distracted the bear long enough for Galante to get up, grab her furry baby and run inside.

“I thought ‘oh my God what if she’s right behind us,’” Galante said of slamming the door shut once she was safely in her home with her dog.

“If we didn’t have that break from her, we’d both be dead I know it. You could just tell she was just ready to attack me again,” she adds.

After the woman called for help, she was treated at Butler Memorial Hospital. NBC details her injuries as “dozens of staples on the back of her head, a broken nose, cuts inside her mouth, puncture wounds on her arm and scrapes and scratches all over.”

‘He saved me’

Today, Galante is almost fully recovered and Smokie, who had a scratch on his back, is also doing well.

“I’m just so thankful [Smokie] wasn’t really hurt,” Galante says, crediting the courageous pup with saving her life. “He saved me and I saved him.”

Pennsylvania Game Commission authorities found the mother bear and her three “huge” cubs in a tree in the immediate area, and according to police, “the female bear continued with her aggression.”

Game Commission, that notes bear attacks very rare, euthanized the momma and the cubs were tranquilized and released to an unknown area.

Authorities say the cubs were old enough to survive on their own and we hope they’re flourishing in the wild!

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