N.J. Boy Scouts, dog save leader from mauling by black bear

By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   Updated Dec. 21, 2015 at 10:20 AMshare with facebook
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A Boy Scout leader was bitten and scratched by a black bear in a New Jersey cave, surviving with bites and scratches. File photo by Pi-Lens/Shutterstock
ROCKAWAY , N.J., Dec. 21 (UPI) — A New Jersey Boy Scout leader survived an attack by a black bear that pulled him into a cave and mauled him.

Christopher Petronino, 50, of Boonton, N.J., led a group of three Scouts and their dog to a talus cave, an opening formed by piled-up boulders on Sunday. Petronino had known about the cave, located near Split Rock Reservoir in northern New Jersey, since boyhood.

A black bear grabbed him by the leg as he entered the cave and pulled him deeper inside, biting his leg and shoulders.

Petronino said he yelled to the Scouts to spread food on the ground, which lured the bear from the cave. The dog’s barking also chased away the bear.

The Scouts called 911 for emergency help, though it was slow to arrive because they could not answer the dispatcher’s requests for location information.

Petronino said he had never encountered a bear at the cave during previous visits. He was airlifted to a local hospital and treated for scratches and bites.

The attack occurred the day after New Jersey’s bear hunting season ended; state records indicate 504 bears were taken in 2015 in the state.