Bear attacks couple and their dog on Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville
(CNN) – A couple were attacked by a bear and treated for injuries Wednesday night on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina, according to a statement from the Blue Ridge Parkway National Park Service.
The couple were picnicking on a grassy hill near the Folk Art Center, an Appalachian arts and crafts museum, when their rampaging dog alerted them to a bear.
The dog ran towards the bear barking loudly, and park officials believe the bear was likely aggravated by the dog, acting “defensively” towards the dog and the couple.
Over the next few minutes, the bear attacked several times until the couple and their dog could retreat to the safety of their car. According to the statement, the couple then went to Mission Hospital in Asheville, where they were treated for their injuries and released.
The attack took place along the Blue Ridge Parkway, near the Folk Art Center.
Due to the “bold and aggressive nature” of the attack, park officials have temporarily closed some trails in the area and outdoor food is currently prohibited. The statement said park rangers and wildlife biologists are trying to capture the bear.
If the bear is captured and positively identified, officials will humanely euthanize the animal, per park and NCWRC protocol.
“During the peak season for fall visits to the boardwalk, visitors are reminded that fall is also a critical feeding period for bears before they enter winter hibernation,” the statement said.
“In the event of a black bear attack, rangers strongly recommend retaliating with any available item, and keep in mind that bears may view you and your pets as prey. Although rare, attacks on humans do occur and can cause injury or death. “
Top photo: The scene near where the attack took place along Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. (WLOS)