Frightening screams were heard from Jonathan Digimas' neighbors' home on Sunday.
“Saying, 'help, help, help,' and I heard the 10-year-old boy saying 'bear, bear, bear' so I knew right then the bear must have gotten hold of him,” Jonathan Digimas said.
Digimas said the black bear was on his property just moments before he attacked the 10-year-old visiting his grandparents next door. Digimas ran over as fast as he could.
“First thing I could find was a steel pipe, it was about this big. I picked up the pipe and I threw it at the bear, I struck it in the head. My neighbor and my neighbor's wife brought the little boy, their grandson, inside. He was bleeding from his foot, and he had claw marks all over his back,” Digimas said.
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Digimas said the boy’s grandfather, in a wheelchair, had been trying to fight off the almost 250-pound bear.
“The bear tried to drag him through the yard and into the woods. So, luckily my neighbor did strike the bear with a crowbar first,” Digimas said.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) said EnCon Police and Connecticut State Police responded to the attack around 11 a.m. on Sunday. The 10-year-old boy was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and the bear was euthanized.
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DEEP said it's rare for a black bear to attack a person. However, they say there is a growing concern for food-conditioned bears.
“So that is the group of bears that has started to learn bad behavior, those are the bears that lose their fear of people and the ones that start to associate people with a source of food. When you combine all of those things together that makes a large animal that has learned very bad behavior, is wild and very unpredictable,” Director of Wildlife Division Jenny Dickson said.
Environmental officials said this is the most aggressive attack they have seen this year. They are urging the public not to leave bird feeders out, not to take out trash until pick up day and to keep outdoor grills cleaned.
In regard to Sunday’s attack, DEEP said the black bear was not tagged or known to the department.