A Michigan man says he will miss his pet beagle Max, but he will always remember the 8-year-old dog as a hero.
Jeff Hanna told WPBN News that Max likely saved his life Monday night when the dog put himself between his owner and a black bear that was lurking behind Hanna’s Wexford County home.
Hanna said he and his wife had heard some commotion in their backyard earlier in the evening but never saw the bear.
He said when he let Max out later that night to use the bathroom, the bear came running at him from behind the shed.
“The bear come charged at that point and come flying around the shed like just split seconds I mean it seemed like a second or two it was already at the porch and Max ran for the bear and the bear got Max by the throat,” Hanna recounted.
“We think he was defending me,” he said. “I do know that if that dog wouldn't have been there it probably would have been me cause she come around and I don't think she knew what was over there she was just defending.”
The couple called the Wexford County Sheriff’s Office. When deputies arrived their lights and sirens scared the bear into a nearby tree.
The bear, it seems, was also protecting family. When the lights and sirens were shut off, the bear came down from the tree and retreated into the woods with three cubs.
A police report indicated Max suffered numerous severe puncture wounds, according to MLive.com. He was taken to a nearby veterinarian but his injuries were so severe the couple had him put down.
Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Outreach Technician Katie Keen told the Cadillac News that bears are often attracted to residential areas because of food sources left around homes.
Hanna acknowledged that bears showed up in his yard from time to time to scrounge food from his bird feeders. But, he said, he is putting a stop to that.
“We are done feeding the birds,” he told the News. “I don’t want them (bears) around. That bear was way too aggressive. I was excited about seeing them before, but it is a different story after (Monday).”
Hanna said it’s going to be hard telling his grandkids that Max is gone.
“Max was probably the best dog that a person could have,” he said. “He was quiet, laid around most of the time, but he loved kids.
Hanna and his wife buried the dog in their backyard.
Photo Credit: Cadillac News, Robert Snache/Flickr