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7-year-old attacked by bear while playing in family’s backyard

The boy is recovering after being taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

A 7-year-old boy is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries after being attacked by a bear while playing in his backyard in a New York City suburb, police said.

Officers from the North Castle Police Department in Westchester County, just north of Manhattan, arrived at a home in Bedford around 11 a.m. on Aug. 22 to find the bear was still there following the encounter.

Despite attempts to scare it away, the bear did not run off, resulting in police shooting and killing the animal.

"Our concern was that the bear did not retreat and at one point he did advance," North Castle Police Chief Peter Simonsen said at a news conference. "When you have that many human beings I would think an animal of that kind would normally retreat, and it did not."

The boy, who was not identified by police, was treated by first responders and taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

The bear's remains were taken by officials from the N.Y. Department of Environmental Protection and tested for rabies, according to NBC New York.

"This is the first incident of its kind I’ve ever been a part of in our area," Simonsen said.

Bear attacks are extremely rare, but encounters in the spring and summer can happen because the animals are out in search of food. Experts urge people to make food sources like garbage cans or bird feeders difficult for bears to access.

Earlier this month, security video showed a woman in Daytona Beach, Florida, being startled to find a bear on her porch before quickly retreating into her home.

In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont signed a bill in June that banned the intentional feeding of bears and gave permission to people to kill the animals if a person reasonably believes a bear is about to "inflict great bodily harm to a person," injure a pet or enter a building occupied with people.

Last month, a bear in Litchfield, Connecticut, injured a man after he tried to stop the animal from attacking his dog. In a separate encounter in Connecticut, a black bear was euthanized after she and her cubs broke into a family's home.

The National Park Service has tips for any face-to-face encounters with bears.

  • Don't run or make any sudden movements.
  • Try to make yourself look as large as possible and slowly wave your arms.
  • Try to keep calm.