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Video: Bear attacks couple in their living room

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    MATT LAUER, co-host: We're back now at 7:45 with a life-and-death struggle between a Pennsylvania couple and a bear. And it happened inside the family's own living room . TODAY national correspondent Amy Robach is at the home where it all unfolded. Amy , good morning.

    AMY ROBACH reporting: Matt, good morning to you. And it was early Monday morning when a black bear came right through this back door. It was in hot pursuit of the Moyer family dog , Brindie . Hi , Brindie . There she goes. Hello! That's when the bear barreled right into Rich Moyer and turned his living room into what looked like a bloody crime scene. A wrestling match between man and bear and things turned from bad to worse when his wife Angie came downstairs. One day after the vicious attack, the horrific battle wounds are still fresh and painful, and very visible.

    Mr. RICH MOYER: I have 37 sutures on the back and the top of my head. I have about 20 puncture wounds, scratches all over my back and my arms.

    Ms. ANGIE MOYER: He actually bit me quite well on might left breast and upper torso. I actually have a huge chunk of tissue missing from my left buttock.

    ROBACH: And there are mental scars for Angie and Rich Moyer .

    Ms. MOYER: This morning, actually, I wouldn't come down when it was dark by myself because I was just too freaked out.

    ROBACH: It all happened as Rich got up for work and let their dog Brindie out, leaving the door open. In a matter of minutes , Rich was on the floor of his living room , fighting for his life, wrestling with a bear.

    Mr. MOYER: I just saw a bunch of black hair .

    ROBACH: When Angie heard the commotion upstairs she ran down but unfortunately right into the bear's clutches.

    Ms. MOYER: It knocked me down. I was down on the ground wrestling with it, in front of the door, actually. At one point, where -- that's where it bit me. And then ended up wrestling it outside yet again until my husband -- my hero came and jumped and knocked the bear off of me.

    ROBACH: Rich then suffered his worst head injuries .

    Mr. MOYER: I kept my head down the whole time so the bear wouldn't rip my face up. And it literally ripped the back of my head open instead. Feeling the hair pull and I thought it was the end.

    ROBACH: But he saved his wife's life.

    Mr. MOYER: Part of me thinks we saved each other. Part of me wishes she'd never got involved. I mean, if you love each other, you're just going to jump in.

    Ms. MOYER: He's more my hero than I'm his.

    ROBACH: All of this was going on while their 10-year-old son Josh was sleeping upstairs. And while Josh saw the gory aftermath, Angie is relieved he didn't wake up any sooner and will now change the way Josh plays outside.

    Ms. MOYER: I looked at him and said, 'Oh, by the way, Josh , you're not going outside ever again.' But that's not a reality that can exist. He loves to play outside. So now it's just going to be a matter of I think one of us go outside with him, just really keep a closer eye on him.

    ROBACH: Wildlife officials in the area believe this may have been a female bear protecting her cubs from the Moyers ' dog. And add even though they've set up a trap in the couple's yard, complete with jelly doughnuts, it's an extremely rare situation.

    Officer STEVE HOWER (Pennsylvania Wildlife Conservations): I've been doing this 23 years. I've never had one enter a house, let alone go in and attack someone.

    ROBACH: In the end, the Moyers are just grateful they had each other at the most frightening, unexpected moment of their lives.

    Mr. MOYER: You know, a lot of times men aren't as caring, especially over the years. I think that's going to change some.

    Ms. MOYER: And I do have to admit, I sort of take him for granted sometimes. I have to change a little bit in light of this. It made me see the light, too.

    ROBACH: There is a financial toll to all of this, as well. As you might imagine Rich and Angie have mounting medical bills and as they have found out the hard way, homeowners insurance doesn't cover bear attacks inside the home. Matt, back to you.

    LAUER: Wow. That's a wild story. Amy Robach , thank you very much .

TODAY contributor
updated 10/5/2011 9:25:38 AM ET 2011-10-05T13:25:38

If one key to a good marriage is having each other’s backs, Pennsylvania couple Rich and Angie Moyer know they are on solid ground. Faced with a terrifying home invasion by an angry bear, both fought to keep the other from being mauled to death.

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Video: Bear attacks couple in their living room (on this page)

It was a typical morning Monday at the Moyer home in Newport, Pa. — Rich was getting ready for work and let the family’s energetic dog Bindy out for a run. But the dog came running in through the back door minutes later, with a black bear in hot pursuit.

The bear quickly changed its target from Bindy to Rich. “All I saw was a bunch of black hair,” Moyer told TODAY’s Amy Robach.

Angie Moyer heard the commotion downstairs and went to investigate. But the bear went from wrestling with Rich to attacking Angie.

“(The bear) knocked me down,” she told Robach. “I was down on the ground wrestling with it in front of the door.” The bear then dragged Angie outside onto the patio.

“(Then) my husband, my hero, came and jumped and knocked the bear off of me,” she said.
And that’s when Rich — a formidable 6-foot-6 inches and 300 pounds — suffered a brutal mauling at the paws of the attacking bruin.

Story: Pa. man knows how salmon feel after bear attack

“I kept my head down the whole time, so the bear wouldn’t rip my face up,” he said. “It literally ripped the back of my head instead… (I was) feeling the hair pull. I thought it was the end.”

But the bear ceased its attack, leaving Rich Moyer alive but severely worse for wear. It took 37 sutures to close the wound on the back of his head, and he was treated for numerous scratches and 20 puncture wounds from the bear’s bites. Angie likewise didn’t emerge unscathed; the bear took out a chunk of her buttock and she also suffered bites on her breast and torso.

But to say they are lucky to be alive may be an understatement, and now the couple are analyzing the blessings of their marriage.

“Part of me thinks we saved each other; part of me wishes she never got involved,” Rich Moyer told Robach. “If you love each other, you are just going to jump in.

Story: Alaska woman punches bear in face to save her tiny dog

“A lot of times men aren’t as caring, especially over the years. I think that is going to change.”

Angie Moyer, who told Robach of Rich, “He’s more my hero than I’m his,” added she is looking at her husband in a whole new way.

“I have to admit I take him for granted sometimes,” she said. “I have to change a little bit in light of this. It made me see the light, too.”

The couple is still faced with some heavy fallout from the bear invasion. Rich and Angie racked up high medical bills from their injuries — homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover bear attacks inside the house. And the Moyers have new fears for their 10-year-old son Josh, who surprisingly slept through the attack upstairs in the home.

Story: Toy poodle helps rescue teen from burning home

“(I told him) Josh, you are never going outside ever again,” Angie Moyer said. “That’s not a reality that can exist; he loves to play outside. So now, it’s just going to be a matter of, I think, one of us goes out with him, just really keep a closer eye on him.”

When authorities arrived at the scene, they were shocked at the bloody aftermath. It left veteran conservation officer Steve Hower scratching his head.

Video: Bear breaks in, steals car

“I’ve been doing this (for) 23 years, and I’ve never had (a bear) enter a house, let alone go in and attack,” he said.

In its investigation, Pennsylvania Game Commission authorities believe the bear was a female who may have cubs, and that dog Bindy may have spurred the attack by hassling the mom’s young charges. A trap has been set in the Moyers’ yard to capture the bear, but it remains at large.

While there have been three known human deaths by black bear attacks in the past year, Pennsylvania has not seen one in more than 100 years.

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