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Florida Man Survives Bear Attack In His Backyard: It Was The 'Hardest Punch I've Ever Taken'

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A Florida man was attacked by a bear just feet from the doorway of his home as he was preparing to take his dog outside.

It was just about an hour before midnight on January 9 when Andy Meunier walked to his back door to let out his dog, Howie, for his usual bathroom break. As always, Howie barked and made a bit of a commotion, so Meunier quickly got him on a leash and opened the door. Yet, Meunier was only able to take one or two steps out of his door when he heard his dog growl and run back into the house. Curious at what made him growl, Meunier turned and found himself facing the fright of his life: three bears, just feet away, were standing in a line looking straight at him.

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“In some ways, it happened so fast I can barely remember, and in other ways, it’s almost like it was all slow motion,” Meunier, 41, of Naples, Florida, tells PEOPLE. “I realized I had no chance of fighting these things off, I tried to get back to the door, and as I was turning, one just caught me with its left front paw. It felt like the hardest punch I’ve ever taken.”

> Andy Meunier's 41 stitches Andy Meunier

The force of the blow knocked Meunier back into the door, and he quickly squeezed inside and slammed the door behind him. Inside, as he composed himself, Meunier soon realized how much damage the hit caused.

“It basically felt like I was standing in the shower and water was running down my face. I knew it was blood—I just knew it,” he recalls. “I was hoping it was just a gash on my forehead since head injuries tend to bleed a lot. I ran into the bathroom and looked at it, and I was like, ‘Nope, I’m going to need medical attention, I can’t patch this up at home!’ ”

Meunier ripped open his shirt and placed it over his bleeding face. As blood soaked into the fabric, he tore open another shirt and rebandaged the wound. He then woke up his 7-year-old daughter, who was asleep in bed, to tell her he needed to go to the hospital.

“I told her I was going to be alright and that I was going to live, but I needed to call 911,” Meunier says. “She started crying, but when she saw that I wasn’t, she got it under control.”

> Howie, the quick-thinging dog who escaped the bears Andy Meunier

Meunier was rushed to a local hospital, where he received 41 stitches to close up his 8-inch-long gash as he was interviewed by officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. Meunier remained at the hospital until about 4 in the morning, when he returned to his apartment complex — and to a startling sight.

“When I got back, the bears were across the street from me—but now there were four of them!” he recalls. “I was scared to death to get out of the car! I waited until they walked far, far away, and then ran in. I just grabbed my stuff and got back into the car, and high-tailed it out of there.”

He spent the next two nights at his ex-wife’s house, Meunier says.

> Andy Meunier before the attack Andy Meunier

Meunier says he has seen bears in the area before, but the animals usually remain at a distance from his home. He says officials believe the initial trio of bears were made up of two cubs and their mother, and when considering the placement of the gash on the almost six-foot-tall Meunier’s face, they say it’s possible that the mother bear reached over her cubs to attack him.

For Meunier, he says he is happy that he was able to walk away with nothing but a scar—it easily could have been worse.

“If that bear would have knocked me out or something, I don’t know what would have happened,” he says. “You know, I’m alive, so that’s all that matters. My daughter still has a dad to come home to. If I have a scar, I have a scar, so what? It’s a good story!”


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Source : http://people.com/human-interest/florida-man-bear-attack-home/

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