NAPLES — Naples resident Andy Meunier is lucky to be alive after a chance encounter with a black bear outside his home on Tuesday.
Meunier was talking his dog out for a walk when he came face to face with a grizzly.
“Everything went in slow motion. It was just as scary as you can imagine,” Meunier told WZVN. “It was standing in front of me and I tried to turn left real quick and get back in the house, and caught an uppercut from a brown, or a black, bear.”
After being knocked to the ground, Meunier managed to make a run for it but not before sustaining a deep wound to his face that took 41 stitches to suture.
“Truthfully, I’m not sure how I got out alive,” Meunier said.
Meunier has spotted bears in his neighborhood before, but had never been attacked.
“I’ve seen them before, just never 2 feet away, swinging at me,” he said.
His attack has made the rounds on social media as some joked about Meunier’s Green Bay t-shirt.
“Packers fan attacked by a bear. Like the real kind,” Ben Handelman tweeted.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) has placed donut traps around the area hoping to lure the bear. Officials say this is the first time a bear has attacked a person in South Florida. The FWC estimates that there are 4,050 bears in Florida with 1,040 in South Florida alone.
“I don’t care if this scars, or anything, I walked away with my life, and it could’ve been a whole lot worse,” Meunier said.
The FWC recommends that Floridians take precautions to avoid negative encounters with bears, mainly by making sure that bears have no reason to wander into residential areas. The commission advises residents to “stash that trash, scare that bear” in an effort to not attract bears to Florida neighborhoods.
According to the Commission, ” Almost 70% of all the calls received by FWC about bears concern bears being attracted into an area, typically getting into the trash or other human-provided foods, which is usually the reason for the bear being in the area.”
In 2014, a Seminole County resident was dragged from her garage by a black bear that had wandered onto her property in search of food. Though she was able to eventually escape, she sustained scrapes and cuts to her legs and face.
Meunier posted a warning to followers on Facebook, “I just wanted to let people around here know to be careful so this didn’t happen to them. I did not expect this.”