Citlally Morinico‘s daughter Hailey Morinico, 17, of Bradbury, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles County, California, United States is the hero in a video that recently went viral. Viewed by millions of people from around the world, the video shows the teenager saving a dog from a mama bear.
Security camera footage captured the bear perching with its two cubs on top of a dividing wall in the backyard of the Morinicos’ house near the Angeles National Forest in Bradbury. Their four dogs barked and darted toward the bear.
At first, Hailey thought their dogs were agitated by a squirrel or another dog, she told the New York Post. But when she saw that it was a bear, she rushed outside and shoved the bear off the wall just seconds after it swatted repeatedly at Valentina, the smallest among the four dogs.
Hailey then quickly grabbed Valentina and ran away. During the unusual encounter, she sprained her finger and knee.
“She is the baby and as her slave, I have to protect her,” Hailey said of Valentina. “Push a bear, push an apex predator, man, and to be honest, I don’t think I like pushed her that hard. I just pushed her enough to lose her balance.”
The Morinicos moved in that Bradbury house in February 2021. According to Hailey, bears usually appear in their neighborhood two to three times a week.
However, it was the first time Hailey or any member of their family got very close to one of the bears. While she and her dogs were not harmed by the encounter, neither she nor her mother recommends pushing a bear.
“Do not push bears,” Hailey told KTLA. “Don’t do what I did, you might not have the same outcome.”
According to “Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance” author Stephen Herrero, defensive attacks by black bears are much rarer than their aggressive displays toward people suggest. He said during defensive attacks, playing dead is a human’s best bet for minimizing injury.