Bear attack hospitalizes 7-year-old boy in North Castle
A 7-year-old boy was attacked by a bear in Westchester County this morning – a rare occurrence that left the animal shot dead by authorities and the child injured.
The incident happened at 75 Hickory Kingdom Road in Bedford at around 11 a.m. North Castle Police Chief Peter Simonsen says the child was playing in his backyard with a sibling just before the attack.
The sibling was unharmed, and the child's parent rendered aid as the bear stayed close by.
"That's extremely brave,” said Simonsen. “…That's what good parents do."
The child was taken to Northern Westchester Hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
Chopper 12 footage of the scene
When officers arrived on the scene, the bear, which was an adolescent male, advanced toward them and was ultimately shot.
"Our concern is that he did not retreat,” said Simonsen. "This is the first incident of its kind I've ever been part of in our area.”
It's unclear at this time what prompted the attack, but bears are known to aggressively protect their young, food and territory. Simonsen urged families to use extreme caution.
"Although it does not seem like a large animal, they are ferocious. That's just their nature. That's just the way bears are."
The bear’s body is being sent to the Department of Health for rabies testing. Authorities say it took four people to carry.
News 12's Veronica Jean Seltzer spoke with neighbors who were shocked to hear that a bear attacked a 7-year-old boy in their community.
"That's crazy. I'm always outside and there's a lot of woods, so to think it could happen to anyone is crazy," said Wyatt Forte, of Katonah.
"I've lived here 13 years and I've never seen a bear so I don't take precautions and maybe I should," said Amy Wilbur, of Bedford.