A black bear attacked a young boy outside his home in Bedford, N.Y., on Tuesday morning, but his parents were able to scare the animal away and save their son, officials said.
By the time emergency workers arrived, the boy’s mother, a doctor, had bandaged him, said Carlos Cano, the chief of the Armonk Fire Department. The boy was hospitalized, but officials said his injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.
Mr. Cano’s colleagues, who responded to the scene, told him that the bear appeared to have grabbed the boy, who he said was about 7.
“Mom was still in shock,” he said.
When officers arrived, the bear was still in the family’s yard, and they shot it. The North Castle, N.Y., police department said the animal had presented a danger to emergency and workers and residents.
Officials will test the bear’s carcass for rabies, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said.
The North Castle police did not respond to questions about the boy’s condition, or the killing of the bear. Messages left for the family were not immediately returned.
In Westchester County, where the attack occurred, the number of reported bear sightings or interactions with humans appears to be increasing: from 9 in 2017 to 40 last year. State officials said the bear population is small and relatively stable in the county, a mostly suburban area just north of New York City.
The local bear population is just a fraction of the estimated 6,000 to 8,000 bears in New York State.
Bear attacks are exceedingly rare. “We’ve never encountered this before,” said Mr. Cano, who said he has served with the Armonk Fire Department for 25 years.
But garbage produced by humans can be irresistible, and suburban bird feeders also make for easy food sources.
So although black bears are not typically aggressive, the chance of a dangerous encounter increases if they are living near humans.
Last fall, a bear attacked a 10-year-old boy while he was playing in his grandparents’ backyard in Morris, Conn., about 60 miles northeast of Tuesday’s attack. The bear was killed; the child was hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening.
On Tuesday, the Banksville Fire Department was dispatched to the North Castle bear attack at 11:19 a.m., according to a lieutenant who responded to the scene.
He said the boy was taken to the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, which is part of Westchester Medical Center. A hospital spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Residents in the area are shaken.
“The news is traveling like wildfire,” said Jack Kriskey, a retired contractor who lives in Greenwich, Conn., just over the state border.
Just last week, Mr. Kriskey, 64, was surprised enough by the “diameter” of a mound of feces in his backyard to post a picture to Facebook, he said. (The consensus among his followers: Bear scat, not dog poop.)
Because of that post, Mr. Kriskey said, friends who were at the scene called him about the attack on Tuesday.
There have been other bear sightings in the area, he said, and some of his neighbors are afraid to let their cats outside. He understands why the authorities had to kill the bear, but regrets the loss.
“I’m actually very sad,” he said, adding, “They’re beautiful animals. To see it end this way is sad.”