• The 81-year-old woman was attacked Tuesday
  • The woman suffered wounds to her right leg and a scratch on her head
  • The authorities have classified the bear as a threat to the public 

An elderly woman in New Jersey suffered injuries after being attacked by a black bear, while trying to save her pet dogs outside her home.

The unidentified 81-year-old woman had wounds to her right leg and a scratch on her head after the encounter with the black bear on her property in Sparta on Tuesday. One of the dogs died in the attack, the New York Post reported.

At around 7 p.m., the woman had spotted a pair of black bears going through the garbage she had put out for pickup. She then let loose her two English springer spaniels in the backyard. The dogs immediately ran toward the bears. Seeing the canines, one of the bears fled into the woods near the woman’s home, while the smaller animal stood its ground and attacked a dog.

In a bid to protect the pooch, the woman screamed and ran toward the bear, but got attacked and bitten by the animal. She was taken to a nearby hospital, and was released after getting stitches to her wounds.

After attacking the woman, the bear dragged the dog into the woods, the cops said. The severely injured dog was later found in the woods, and rushed to an animal hospital, where it succumbed to the injuries. The police said the woman was "distraught about the loss of her dog.” The other dog was unharmed.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife has classified the bear that attacked the woman as category 1 for exhibiting aggressive behavior, ABC 7 News reported. The category 1 bears are considered a threat to the public, and are euthanized as soon as possible to eliminate further damage to people, property and crops.

The residents said bears are usually sighted in the area around dusk or dawn when people put out their garbage.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife said they are working with local authorities to investigate the incident and take appropriate measures to protect public safety.

Representational image of a black bear. Lake Tahoe's Hank the Tank recently broke into a home and his fate hangs in the balance as DFW officials mull options after the bear's capture. pixabay