UPDATE: W.Va. authorities have killed a black bear near Upshur County mauling incident

By  | 

The West Virginia Division of National Resources has killed a bear that may have been responsible for mauling a woman in Upshur County.

According to DNR officer Tanner Collins an adult black bear matching the description of the one involved in the mauling of a woman in Upshur County has been killed. The bear was killed about 900 yards from where the original incident happened.

Officers collected a DNA sample from the night of the incident and from the bear that was recently killed. The samples are being sent to an outside agency to be tested. The results should determine whether or not it was the bear from the mauling incident.

On May 31, 66-year old Opal Gillespie was mauled by a black bear while taking her dogs out in her back yard.

Gillespie sustained lacerations on her head and neck, along with bruising on her upper body during the attack and one of her dogs was killed.

According to Officer Collins, Gillespie is recovering and is out of the hospital.

At 1:30 Friday morning, 66-year old Opal Gillespie went to her back yard in the Tennerton area of Buckhannon to let her dogs outside.

But as she left her home, her and her animals came face to face with a black bear and were mauled, according to Captain Douglas Benson with the Division of Natural Resources.

"The encounter ultimately left her dog dead and she was mauled by the bear in the process," said Captain Benson. "She had some significant scratches, lacerations on her head and neck, and bruising on her upper body."

Benson says bears are food motivated animals and will go anywhere they can find it.

It's believed the bird feeder on Gillespie's back porch is what attracted the black bear and it felt threatened when she let her dogs out.

"Where the bear was at he was trapped after she went out. And with that and the two dogs that she had would heighten the bears stress levels. The bear's escape would have been through her and her dogs."

The DNR says they have had multiple bear sightings in the Tennerton area and are working to trap the bear.

"We've got a couple traps that we're going to be setting, one of our bigger culvert traps out, and some smaller ones moving into the area. And we're going to trap until we get this bear."

As for Mrs. Gillespie, officials say she will make a full recovery from the mauling.

"I spoke to her husband and she is doing better," said Benson. "They're anticipating a full recovery. She is going to be sore and it's going to take some time, but we believe right now she's going to have a full recover."