Bear repeatedly attacked couple and their dog picnicking in Asheville park

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Friday, October 1, 2021
Bear attacks couple, dog picnicking in Asheville
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The couple's dog was off leash when it went up to the bear and started barking. Park officials said this likely agitated the bear and caused it to attack.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A bear attacked a couple having a picnic in Asheville on Wednesday.

According to a release from the National Park Service, the couple was having a picnic near the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway with their dog when the dog started barking. The dog, which was unleashed, ran up to a bear and kept barking loudly.

National Park Service representatives said the bear likely acted defensively toward the dog and the couple at that point, attacking them repeatedly over several minutes.

The couple and their dog were able to retreat to their car and go to the hospital.

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The National Park Service called the attack "bold and aggressive" and closed all trails in the area.

The agency also reminded visitors that while fall is a busy time for tourists, it's also a critical feeding time for bears before they enter winter hibernation. People should take extra precautions to protect themselves and their pets.

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Park rangers and wildlife biologists are attempting to find the bear. If captured, it will be humanely euthanized per protocol.