NAPLES, Fla. — A Naples man says he is lucky to be alive after a bear attacked him on Tuesday night.
Andrew Meunier say around 11:00 p.m. he decided to let his small dog out of his apartment. When he walked outside he immediately noticed a 4-foot bear right next to him.
"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 black bear," said Meunier. "Everything went in slow motion. It was as scary as you can imagine."
Meunier says the bear's claws nearly ripped open his face. The attack left him with three lacerations to the right side of face and ear. He received forty-one stitches at a local hospital.
"I don't care if this scars. I don't care anything. I walked away with my life and it could have been a whole lot worse," said Meunier.
It is the first recorded bear attack in South Florida since 1970, something Meunier finds a little humorous.
"I feel like I got in a fight with Wolverine," said Meunier. "That is what they were telling me in the ER. The nurse was like most people have to make up stories when they leave here. She's like you got a good one."
The attack occurred in an apartment complex across the street from Gulf Coast High School. Neighbors say they have seen bears for months digging through trash cans in their yards.
Florida Fish and Wildlife officers were in the neighborhood on Wednesday setting traps hoping to catch the bear before it attacks another person.
FWC biologists say there are approximately 4,050 black bears in Florida. For more information on how to safely live with bears, visit myfwc.com/bear.