A bloke who saw his pit bull being “skinned” by a 25-stone black bear acted on instinct to save the pup, according to reports.
Kaleb Bentham, from Nevada County, California, said he heard an ominous growl outside his window.
He went to investigate and saw a massive bear with its jaws clamped around Buddy’s head – apparently trying to drag the rescue dog into nearby woodland.
Kaleb says he dived straight into the fight, punching the bear in the face in the hope of making it let go of Buddy.
"I just ran down there, ploughed into the bear, tackled it and grabbed it by the throat and started hitting it in the face and the eye until it let go," he said.
He says he didn't hesitate for a second. He told local news channel CBS13: "If it was your kid, what would you do? That's my kid, I would die for my dog.”
Luckily Kaleb wasn’t injured himself in the dramatic encounter. The bear, which Kaleb estimates weighed around 350lb, let go of Buddy and left the yard.
Meanwhile, Buddy needed life-saving treatment at Mother Lode Veterinary Hospital. He underwent a three-hour procedure involving stitches and staples to the side of his head and above the eyes.
One of the bear’s teeth went clean through Buddy’s lip, the little dog lost part of an ear and chunks of skin were torn from his head.
He’s now recovering at home, but is expected to have to wear a plastic cone to prevent him pulling out his stitches for quite some time.
But Kaleb says it the bear still prowling around the area, and might be keen to settle its unfinished business with Buddy: "It made an attack and had its food and it's food got taken from it and it wants it back, I feel like.”
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