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Tuesday
May142013

Ontario Man Describes Mauling by Black Bear

Joe Azougar, 30, recovering at Lady Minto Hospital in Cochrane, Ontario. Image Credit: Courtesy Joe Azougar(COCHRANE, Ontario) -- Joe Azougar was sitting on the front porch of his cabin over the weekend with his new German Shepard puppy Ace when he “started to hear a vibration or thunder and I turned around to see a bear.”

The next few minutes were pure mayhem and panic in which the bear killed the dog and then came back for Azougar, smashing through a cabin window to get at him and mauling him so badly that Azougar said he could feel the bear’s teeth on his exposed skull.

Azougar, 30, spoke to ABC News from his bed in Lady Minto Hospital in Cochrane, Ontario, where doctors needed 300 stitches to patch up his scalp, shoulder and back.

When the bear showed up, “The first thing that the dog did was protect his master and attack the bear…I heard howling and barking,” he said.

Azougar ran into his 8-by-16 “off-grid” cabin and began to call neighbors, alerting them to what was going on.

“As I looked around I saw him [the bear] drag my lifeless dog Ace into the bush,” he said. But suddenly, the bear was back and it broke through the cabin’s back window.

“It took my dog and then it came back to kill me. It had death in its eyes,” Azougar said.

Azougar began throwing things at the bear, making loud sounds and stood on a chair to make himself appear larger.

“This beast was thirsty for blood. This beast wanted to destroy,” said Azougar. “I figured my best chance was to run outside by the street so that someone could find me.”

Azougar began running, but the bear caught him.

“He had four paws on top of me…he peeled my forehead skin to the back of my head off,” he said.

“Then, he turned me over and tried to bite my stomach and hips. That gave me just a few seconds to curl into a ball and protect my head, which exposed my arm pits and shoulder blades.”

Azougar began kicking and punching the bear, managing to hit it in the eye. “It doesn’t feel anything. It is a merciless creature,” he said.

The bear dragged Azougar’s body into a ditch. “By that time I could feel my body become lifeless,” Azougar said.

He was saved by the arrival of two women who saw Azougar getting mauled as they were driving by. “Out of nowhere I heard a horn and these two angels saved my life,” he said. The horn scared off the bear, which ran back into the woods.

“I said please help me, please help me… I managed to put my arm around their shoulders and walked to their car,” Azougar said.

The women drove Azougar to the hospital.  “He was two or three inches from taking out a major artery in my neck,” Azougar said.

“I am just thankful to those two angels that saved me. I am thankful to the Almighty for giving me this life,” he said.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources said the bear was shot and killed and has been submitted for a necropsy, where officials will test to see if the bear was suffering from some type of disease.

“I have spoken to people who say they have lived here for 20 or 30 years and they said they have never seen anything happen like this,” said Azougar.

Azougar had only moved to the tiny cabin to escape the busy city of Toronto a month before the incident, working from home as an online monitor for classified advertisements. He said that he plans to return to the cabin once he is released from the hospital.

“This has not discouraged me. I will be going back to my camp, but I think safety will be more of a concern,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio