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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“(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.
“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.