We’ve featured all sorts of stories about pet owners going to great lengths for their dogs, but I think this may be the most shocking one we’ve ever seen yet.
No one in their right mind would charge, let alone, come near a mama bear taking a stroll with her cubs, but that’s exactly what 17-year-old Hailey Morinico of Bradbury, California, did this Memorial Day weekend.
In a harrowing clip captured by their home’s security camera, a black bear and her two cubs are seen balancing on top of the low brick fence in the Morinicos’ home.
They were heading toward a fruit tree in the backyard when four dogs suddenly bolted out and barked loudly at the mammal.
The bear became upset and swiped at the largest of the dogs, touching the black dog’s nose while still perched atop the wall. Two bear cubs are seen behind her.
Then, out of nowhere, Hailey darted across the yard to save her own babies—her four dogs, who are now in danger of getting hurt.
Using both of her hands, the teen shoved the mama bear, and she disappeared over a wall into a neighbor’s yard. She poked her head back over for one last look before running off.
The teen said the only thing she had in mind at the time was to protect her dogs.
“I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a bear and it is taking my dog. It is lifting it up off the ground,’” she said. “In that split second, I decided to push the bear, like it was nothing, apparently.”
Hailey then scooped up one of her dogs while the others ran back to safety.
Luckily, none of them suffered any serious injuries; Hailey escaped with only a sprained finger and a scraped knee.
Although it’s the route she took, she wouldn’t advise anyone to follow her example.
“Do not push bears and do not get close to bears,” she said. “You do not want to get unlucky. I just happened to come out unscathed.”
KNBC Los Angeles identified the bear as a black bear, some of which have brown or tan coats. Human-bear encounters are rare in California, but these animals sometimes come out of their habitats and visit the foothill communities to forage food, particularly on garbage days.
Experts don’t recommend confronting any bears. But just in case you encounter one, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says you should stay away from them. If they don’t leave, get to a safe place and call 911.
“If you encounter a bear in your yard, chances are it will move on if there is nothing for the bear to forage. If there is enough distance between you and the bear, you can encourage the bear to leave by using noisemakers or blowing a whistle,” officials wrote.
Black bears are characterized by their small, narrow heads and small ears. Their coats can be of a tan, black, or brown color. Females can grow up to 200 pounds, and males can be a massive 350 pounds. Some giants even weigh more than 600 pounds.
The population of black bears in California has been on the rise over the last two decades. During the early 1980s, there were about 10,000 to 15,000 of them. Now, there are an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 of them in the city, and that’s a conservative estimate.
Bears are naturally good climbers who can easily scale a tree or block a wall, like in this case.
About half of California’s bears are found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and areas to the north and west. Only around 10% of the black bear population lives in central western and southwestern California.
They like to eat plants, insects, nuts, berries, and whatever else they see as edible.
Hailey is definitely one brave fur mom! Here’s the footage of her defending her beloved pets.
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