Black Bear Attacks Woman Inside Lake Tahoe Cabin

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

The retired doctor, who is receiving treatment for lymphoma, was using her vacation home as a safe haven during the pandemic

Laurel-Rose von Hoffmann-Curzi was spending time at her vacation home in North Lake Tahoe while receiving treatment for lymphoma when a black bear broke into the cabin and attacked her.

“He came flying at me and I could see absolutely nothing. It was black,” Von Hoffmann-Curzi told NBC’s Guad Venegas on Weekend Today. “Except I saw a paw, right before he started mauling me.”

Von Hoffmann-Curzi says the bear attacked her in the darkness, which made it all the more frightening.

“It was terrifying, because I couldn’t see,” Von Hoffmann-Curzi says. “I didn’t know what was coming from where. I knew I was being torn apart. It was just horrifying. ... I was screaming my head off.”

The retired doctor threw a quilt at the bear during the attack, which scared it off and likely saved her life. She then dressed her wounds while yelling for help. She suffered severe injuries to her face and lacerations all over her body.

“I should be dead,” Von Hoffman-Curzi says. “The bear attack could have killed me.”

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The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) says black bear encounters are on the rise in the northern part of the state, where the population has tripled in the last 25 years.  

“There’s lots of bears. They don’t generally hurt people,” Capt. Patrick Foy of the CDFW told Today. “They don’t want to hurt people.”

Foy says the department got a DNA sample of the bear responsible for the attack and is tracking it.

“It’s been long-standing policy when an animal actually attacks a person, if we can identify that animal, that would be euthanized to prevent it from attacking another person,” Foy says.

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