Woman survives bear attack in Lake Tahoe vacation home

Local News

TAHOE VISTA, Calif. (KTXL) — A woman was attacked Saturday morning after a bear invaded her vacation home on the north shore of Lake Tahoe

“I was bleeding and scared and screaming,” recalled Laurel-Rose Von Hoffmann-Curzi.

Von Hoffman-Curzi sat down with a Bay Area news team describing how she was injured by a bear inside her Tahoe Vista home. She said she went to investigate noises in the kitchen when she found herself face-to-face with the adult animal.

“He must have come straight at me. I have only a vision of the paw. It was dark and then I’m getting torn up,” she said.

When a wild animal injures a person in California, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, as a matter of policy, works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to trap and euthanize the animal.

A trap is set up in the driveway of the home where the incident happened.

Fish and Wildlife captain, Patrick Foy, told FOX40 the department has a DNA profile of the bear that injured Von Hoffmann-Curzi.

If a bear not matching that profile is trapped, it will be released.

“She was seriously, seriously injured and she’s a friend of mine,” said neighbor Deborah Hakam.

Hakam lives across the street from the home the bear entered.

“This is really upsetting because, usually, black bears are not aggressive with people,” Hakam said.

She said bears have broken into several cars and homes in the neighborhood, but one entering an occupied home and injuring a person is very rare.

“The whole story is just tragic all the way around for everybody,” said Ann Bryant, the executive director of the Bear League. “We’re so grateful that she’s going to be OK. We’re very sad that the bear, if they catch him or her and the DNA matches, will lose his life.”

Bryant teaches humans how to live in harmony with bears. She wants people to realize Tahoe’s bears do not enter homes with the intention of attacking people.

They want nothing to do with humans. They just want food.

When people do get attacked, it’s usually because the bear got startled or felt trapped.

“It was like, ‘Get out of my way, I got to get out of here. I’ve been caught trespassing. Move!’” Bryant explained.

In this latest case, the bear entered and ran out through the front door.

The Bear League and the Department of Fish and Wildlife encourage everyone visiting Tahoe to take measures to make homes less attractive to bears by making all food and trash inaccessible to the animals.

Over the phone, Von Hoffman-Curzi shared with FOX40 that the home’s front door was closed, but the deadbolt was not engaged when the bear entered. She was willing to share this as a warning to others to take the necessary precautions in bear territory.

“If everybody can learn from this and realize it could happen to me. Engage that deadbolt. Lock that window. And you’re good,” Bryant said.

Von Hoffman-Curzi told KTVU she would like to see animals that attack humans be relocated.

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