LONGWOOD, Fla. - Florida Fish and Wildlife officers have set up three traps in hopes of catching a bear that attacked a Longwood woman on Monday night.
Susan Chalfant, 54, was injured in the attack, classified by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as the first of its kind by a Florida black bear. Chalfant was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with serious facial injuries and she remained hospitalized on Tuesday.
"The dogs got agitated, and she turned around to go back to her house, and the bear knocked her to the ground," said Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Karen Parker.
According to officials, Chalfant was walking two small dogs around 8 p.m. in the 2600 block of English Ivy Court near Markham Woods Road when the bear attacked her before running away.
Chalfant was helped by neighbors and 911 was called, officials said.
"A woman has been mauled by a bear," the neighbor said on the call, which was released Tuesday. "She's so bloody, though, I can't tell."
The caller also told dispatchers that the woman was bleeding from her head.
According to the FWC, the neighbor said Chalfant was walking two small dogs, which became agitated and began to bark. The bear then attacked the woman, the neighbor told officials.
"We believe she was bitten," said FWC spokeswoman Karen Parker, who added that they only have preliminary information about the incident.
The dogs were not harmed, officials said.
There were no witnesses to the attack, according to wildlife officials, who said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that they haven't been able to speak to Chalfant.
Wildlife officers set a trap for the bear as they continue to search for the animal.
FWC said if they catch the bear they will do DNA testing to determine if it was the bear that attacked Chalfant.
"We want to make sure we get the right bear," Parker said. "If we get the right bear, higher-ups will decide what to do (with the animal)."
FWC officers patrolled the neighborhood on Tuesday, speaking with residents about preventative measures and what to do if a bear is spotted.
Several bear sightings have been reported in the area.
The FWC said last year it fielded 707 bear reports for the Ocala region, which includes Seminole County.
For more information about Florida black bears and how to deal with them, visit the FWC website.
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