California woman viciously mauled by bear in her home

TAHOE VISTA, Calif. (KPIX/CNN) – A California woman is grateful to be alive after she was viciously attacked in her home by a bear.

Laurel-Rose von Hoffmann-Curzi has dozens of stitches in her face, deep lacerations on her chest and arms, and puncture wounds all over her torso after being mauled by a bear early Saturday morning in the kitchen of her family’s Tahoe Vista cabin.

She said it all started when she heard banging in the kitchen and went to investigate. “I could see the freezer door half open, and food just going ‘whoof whoof’ and it was like in an instant, ‘Oh my gosh. This is a bear.’ and the next thing that happens is that I’m being torn apart.”

Laurel-Rose said she was blocking the door where the bear came in, and she thinks the bear mauled her so it could get back out. “I’m screaming the whole time… screaming at the top of my lungs.”

Experts said the bear could have easily killed her and, unfortunately, the black bears are becoming more of a problem in Tahoe.

“That bear outweighed her by easily 4 or 500 pounds,” said BEAR League Director Ann Bryant. “We call it getting ‘friendlier’ because what they actually are doing is they are getting more comfortable around people.”

Recently, a bear was spotted going into Safeway to get food. Then, in a convenience store, not seeming to be bothered by the cashier trying to shoo it away.

Laurel-Rose said she often spotted bears around her cabin, but never imagined she’d come face to face with one in her kitchen, especially at a time when she’s battling stage 4-non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Laurel-Rose said, “I am so incredibly lucky to be alive, I mean, no question.”

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