5-year-old girl receives 77 stitches after being dragged by black bear

MESA COUNTY, Colo. — A 5-year-old Colorado girl is in good condition after she was attacked by a black bear outside her home.

The attack happened early Sunday near Grand Junction, about 240 miles west of Denver.

The girl's mother told state wildlife officers that her daughter went outside around 2:30 a.m. to investigate noises she thought might be coming from her dog. The mother said she then heard screaming and went out to find her daughter being dragged by a large black bear. She says the bear dropped the girl after she began screaming at the animal.

“She came out … she yelled at the animal,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Porras said. “She screamed at it, and by doing so, she probably saved her little girl’s life.”

Porras said the girl suffered serious injuries and was taken to St. Mary's Hospital.

KDVR reports the bear bit the girl multiple times on her backside. She was listed in good condition late Sunday.

“Fortunately she had no life-threatening injuries,” Pediatric surgeon Dr. Charles Breaux of St. Mary’s Medical Center said. “No injuries to her brain or chest organs or abdominal organs and no fractures.”

Doctors cleaned and repaired the wounds — requiring more 77 stitches.

Doctors will monitor the girl to ensure she doesn’t have rabies.

Federal and state wildlife officers are using traps in an effort to capture the bear that is now considered dangerous.

“The goal is to trap the bear, and if we do, we are going to put that bear down,” Porras explained.

While bear attacks on humans are rare, Porras said there is growing concern.