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Bear attack survivor returns home after long stay in hospital

By Staff | Feb 21, 2019

MUNCY – A woman who survived a bear attack outside her home in Muncy Creek Township left the hospital last week, and says she feels lucky to have survived.

“i shouldn’t even be here,” said Melinda LeBarron during a live report on WBRE and PennLive.

LeBarron, age 50, was released two weeks ago from Geisinger Medical Center, where she was taken following the bear attack on December 12 just outside her home.

After several surgeries, she said, “I’m trying to get my body back to where it was. She had several injuries to her head, hip and shoulder and needs a cane while walking.

LeBarron said the bear attacked her after she went out her back door to smoke a cigarette with her dog, who ironically, is named Bear.

A Pennsylvania Game Commission representative believed the bear was with cubs and attacked LeBarron after hearing the barking dog.

LeBarron, who said she never saw any cubs, said the bear took her down quickly, and she fought back. “But the animal was more powerul than I was,” she said.

She was dragged several feet from her home. “I found a tree with two low branches and crawled into them.” She remembers dragging her self back home and calling for help.

LeBarron spent two weeks under medical care at Geisinger’s trauma center in critical condition. She said the staff there “were awesome” and let her watch the birth of her eighth grandchild, Rhett Lincoln LeBarron on Feb. 2.

“Now it feels good to be home,” she said. Bear the dog suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs and a cut on the stomach. “She has not left my side,” she said since her dog has been home. “She is completely recovered. You can’t even tell anything happened to her. She is doing awesome.”

The Game Commission set two traps to try to catch the bear, but caught only two young animals that were since relocated. The traps were removed last month and the bear is still at large.

On Saturday, March 23 there will be a benefit for Melinda LeBarron to help with her many medical expenses. It will be held at the Muncy VFW from 1-6 p.m. For more information or to donate contact Lorie Btehn at 570-546-3820.