Pennsylvania Pastor Saves Dog From Black Bear

It was a case of man versus wild for one Westmoreland County man this week.

Video Transcript

- And the sightings are stretching far beyond city limits. Our Royce Jones is live with the lesson a Westmoreland County man learned from close encounters with a bear earlier this week. Royce.

ROYCE JONES: Well, Kim, they say dogs are a man's best friend. But when this pet owner had to confront a black bear to rescue his, things quickly escalated to man versus wild. Pastor Tim Stradling of Armbrust Wesleyan Church recalling the Monday night standoff between his nine-year-old maltese terrier Peyton and a black bear.

TIM STRADLING: In the moment, I just could not imagine him being eaten or him being taken into the woods.

ROYCE JONES: He says this happened around 10:00 PM right outside his home off Route 819. The dog was on the leash outside. He was quiet, then barking, then suddenly releasing sounds of distress. When the pastor came outside--

TIM STRADLING: I looked to my left, and there's a black bear with Peyton in its mouth.

ROYCE JONES: The owner was not letting this go down. Screaming, shouting, and charging the bear several times, the bear even charging back before finally releasing the dog, who was just 30 minutes away to a Monroeville animal clinic.

TIM STRADLING: - I sang "Jesus Loves Me" to my little Peyton manning just like I would to one of my own kids, because we didn't know whether he was going to survive.

ROYCE JONES: The dog had bites to the neck and left leg, which also suffered a fracture and nerve damage, and had to be amputated because of the injuries. The pastor's only physical battle wounds are some brush burns from falling face-down during the fight. He hopes sharing his story will have other pet owners on alert.

TIM STRADLING: We've got enough wild animals around us that there's a possibility. And it happened to us.

ROYCE JONES: And listen to this. That pet owner believes that it was his chicken coup that led the bear to his house. The Game Commission tells me, and Kim, you did mention a couple of these points already, and that's to make sure that you take down any bird feeders that you might have. Put your trash cans away. But also, right now with this beautiful weather outside, people grilling, make sure you give a real thorough cleaning to your outdoor grills, because if there's any juices left on there, that's basically a smoke signal to these bears. Reporting live, Royce Jones, KDKA news.