(CNN) — A Florida woman is recovering after being attacked by a bear who ambled into her open garage and sifted through her garbage cans in search of food, sheriff’s deputies said Sunday.
The woman said as many as five bears “of various sizes” were rooting through her trash when she walked into the garage, Seminole County Sheriff’s Lt. Pete Brenenstuhl said. A black bear “dragged her from inside the garage out into her driveway,” leaving her with scrapes and cuts to her face and legs, Brenenstuhl said.
WESH reports that the victim uttered a desperate prayer as the bear chomped down on her head.
“And she started pulling me toward the woods,” said Terri Frana. “I just thought ‘God, please this can’t be the end. It can’t end like this.’ I literally heard Jesus say to me, ‘It’s OK, you will be at peace with us.’ I replied, ‘Please, my kids need me.’ Then the bear released my head. She let go of my head and I knew I had to get up off that ground and get away, otherwise I was not going to make it.”
The woman escaped and ran back into her home, where her husband called 911, he said. She was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Greg Workman said initial reports that several bears had attacked the woman were wrong. “There were several bears observed near the area, but one bear is responsible for her injuries.”
Lt. Jeff Hudson said the woman had an “encounter with a black bear” but could not confirm the reports of multiple bears being involved in the incident.
The Saturday night encounter came the same day Florida wildlife officials warned that black bears and their cubs have started moving around in search of food after winter. The agency urges residents to use bear-resistant trash cans to prevent incidents like the one on Saturday night.
“Now is the time to expect bears to show up looking for food,” Dave Telesco, the head of the wildlife commission’s bear management program, said in Saturday’s advisory. “If they can’t find food in your neighborhood, they’ll move on.”