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Bear attacks woman in her home

Joel StoningtonAspen CorrespondentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

ASPEN – An Aspen woman was hospitalized early Wednesday morning after a bear entered her apartment and slashed her across the face. Aspen Valley Hospital said Judy Garrison was treated and released for her wounds. Garrison’s daughter, who asked that her name not be used, said her mother spent the morning at the hospital where she received numerous stitches to her face. “She’s really lucky to have her eye,” the daughter said. “Her eye looks like … Rocky.”The attack occurred at about 1:30 a.m., when Garrison woke up because she thought she heard some noise, police said. Garrison entered her kitchen, where she encountered a bruin, police said. Since Garrison was in its way, the bear apparently had no way out of the kitchen, police said. It then stood up and swatted at Garrison. Police said it did not appear Garrison suffered significant injuries other than to her face. Garrison’s 14-year-old son also was in the Castle Ridge apartment, which is located near Aspen Valley Hospital, and called 911 after the attack woke him up. The bruin fled the scene, prompting Colorado Division of Wildlife officials to set up two bear traps in the Castle Ridge Apartment complex, which is owned by the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority. Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton said the agency will kill the bear if it is trapped. “The kitchen was a mess,” said Garrison’s daughter. “The cops cleaned up a lot of it. It’s not that bad, just a lot of blood.”On Wednesday afternoon, a “Do not disturb” sign was posted on the front door of her apartment. While authorities don’t know when the bear entered the apartment’s unlocked sliding door, Garrison’s 9-year-old grandson had been asleep on the living room couch until midnight, when Garrison’s daughter dropped by to pick him up. The couch was a few feet from the unlocked sliding glass door where the bear entered. This is the second incident in which a bear has injured someone in the past week. On Oct. 11, 71-year-old John Clark was attacked in his garage on East Sopris Creek in Snowmass.Other occupants of the Castle Ridge Apartment complex called the attack scary and said it has made residents jittery.”It’s really not a good thing, poor lady,” said Ron Burdette, head of maintenance for the complex. “I’ve notified all other residents in the community. We’ve told people to be aware and watch what’s going on.”Until Wednesday, Burdette said there hasn’t been much bear activity beyond the usual few bears that get into trash cans during the summer. Hampton said black bear attacks are uncommon but that they can become more dangerous when bears become panicked in human areas. He encouraged people to close and lock doors and to not have food sources outside such as fruit trees, bird feeders and pet food. Hampton said 12 bears have been euthanized by the DOW this season and 24 have been relocated. Twelve orphaned cubs have been delivered to a rehabilitation center in Silt. Hampton estimated that at least 25 media outlets called him about this bear attack.


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