Story at a glance

  • A California teenager fought off a mother bear to save her dogs.
  • The bear and her cubs were climbing over the wall into the yard when the dogs approached, and the mother began swatting at them.
  • The teenager ran over and pushed the bear before grabbing a dog and corralling the rest inside.

A California teenager fought off a bear to protect her dogs on Memorial Day.

Seventeen-year-old Hailey Morinico heard her dogs barking and, thinking they were barking at another dog, came outside to tell them to stop. Instead, Morinico found a mother bear.

Before she emerged, the mother and her cubs came from under a tree and began to climb over a cement wall leading to Morinico’s home, when a large black dog and three small dogs came running over barking. As the cubs scattered, the mother bear began to swat at the dogs and continued over the wall. 

“I go over there to see what they’re barking at, and I’m like, that’s a funny looking dog,” Morinico said in her TikTok about the encounter.


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Once she realizes it was a bear, Morinico ran over and pushed the bear, causing the bear to stumble backward, and Morinico lost her balance and fell from the force. 

“I go over to the bear, I look it in the eyes, and the first thing I think to do is push it. Push a bear, push an apex predator, man,” she said. 

She then grabs one of the smaller dogs and takes off running toward the house as she corrals the other dogs to follow her while the bear retreats.


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Morinico sprained her finger and her knee during the encounter but the dogs got away unharmed.

And while it turned out okay this time, she told CBSLA she would not recommend other people do what they did.

“Do not push bears, do not get close to bears,” Morinico said. “You do not want to get unlucky. I just happened to come out unscathed.”


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Published on Jun 02, 2021