A Heathrow man who thought he heard raccoons rummaging through his garbage got the scare of his life when a Florida black bear attacked him, he said today.
David Amsler, 34, took a golf club with him when he went outside on Sept. 26 to frighten away what he thought were raccoons near his garage.
It was dark, and Amsler couldn’t see much at first. But he soon realized that several bear cubs and their mother were helping themselves to a meal from his garbage can. Before he knew it, the 400-pound adult bear was after him.
“I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, there’s a bear running at me,’ ” Amsler said. “I stumbled down, and the bear was on top of me.’ ”
Amsler kicked at the bear and poked it with his golf club, he said. All the while, the animal was growling and hissing. He said he thinks the bear was just trying to scare him so it could protect its cubs and continue eating.
“You don’t really expect to get attacked by one in your yard in a gated community in Florida,” said Amsler, who managed to run into the house.
He suffered scrapes to his feet and one leg. Later, Amsler learned that hungry bears have been a problem in his neighborhood, where they have torn porch screens to get at food, he said.
He called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and an agent came out. Amsler said he thinks a trap has been set so the bear can be relocated to a less-populated area. Fish and wildlife officials could not be reached tonight.
From now on, Amsler plans to keep his garbage cans in the garage until pickup time.