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Greene County woman attacked by black bear | Urban Wildlife

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Greene County woman attacked by black bear
Urban Wildlife

ROUND TOP - A Greene County woman was recovering at Albany Medical Center Wednesday night after being attacked in her own backyard earlier in the day by a black bear. Bear sightings and bear encounters are not unusual in the Northern Catskills, however bear attacks are extremely rare.

Joy Bayer, 50, has joined a small but growing number of bear attack survivors.

In the rural, woodsy community of Round Top, no one is surprised to hear about a black bear encounter. Alyssa Bayer was terrified that her mother, Joy, was actually attacked by one.

"She told me that the bear came up behind her," Alyssa recalls, "She went to check the garbage and why they were all knocked over and all of a sudden it was just on top of her."

While state wildlife officials and armed sheriff's deputies were spreading out to scour the woods all around Alpine Drive, details of the freak attack were spreading just as quickly.

"The bear had her down for quite a while," says next door neighbor Carl Moller.

Alyssa Bayer says her mother had an existing back injury and the attack made things worse.

Black bear sightings in the Northern Catskills are nearly as common as deer sightings. While one neighbor was out hunting for bear tracks in her backyard, another was pointing out bear claw marks on her garbage cans.

"They kind of lose their fear of humans and that's what I'm just afraid of might have happened," theorizes Joan Noeldechen, who lives two doors away from the Bayers.

Noeldechen says there's a lot of bear activity in the glen behind her home which is why she won't go outside after sunset, not after what she's seen.

"The bear had thrown some of the stumps around and had gotten crazy, " she says.

Neighbors live Ronny Burdewick says this is the time of year when bear activity picks up.

"In the fall and towards the winter it (bear sightings)stopped," Burdewick says, "I guess they go off in the woods and hibernate."

Back in August, 2002, a 5-month old baby was pulled from its stroller and killed by a foraging bear in Fallsburg, New York in Sullivan County. People in the area are well aware of the potential danger that lurks all around them.

Joy Bayer was listed in "fair" condition Wednesday night at Albany Medical Center. At last word the bear was still on the loose somewhere in the wilderness.

Many residents of the Alpine Drive neighborhood tell News Channel 13 they intend to keep their garbage cans inside their garages from now on.

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