Catherine Sweatt-Mueller, Minnesota woman mauled to death by black bear on remote Ontario island, Red Pine while going out to look for barking dogs.
Catherine Sweatt-Mueller of Maple Plain was staying at a cabin on Red Pine Island in Rainy Lake, which straddles the US-Canada border, with her parents on Sunday when she heard her two dogs barking outside and went to investigate.
Minutes later the woman would be mauled to death by the encroaching bear the Star Tribune reported.
Sweatt-Mueller’s parents – who are in their 80s – called police, upon finding a black bear standing over their daughter’s partially-eaten remains.
The 62-year-old was described as an avid horseback rider whose family has owned a cabin in the Canadian waters on Rainy Lake for decades.
A friend of Sweatt-Mueller’s, Vonnette Mills, said the family visits the lake seasonally and is well known in the area.
‘All I can say is wow,’ Mills told ABC5. ‘It’s heartbreaking.
‘It sounds like something so rare, that doesn’t happen, we’re kind of in shock.’
Black bear attack ‘exceptionally rare.’
The incident has left island dwellers shocked as bear attacks are considered extremely rare both in Ontario and neighboring Minnesota.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry spokesman Jolanta Kowalski told ABC5: ‘Very rare – not just that area but across the province.’
Minnesota wildlife biologist Andy Tri told The Star Tribune that black bears ‘have a natural fear of humans, and 99 times out of 100, if you come across a bear in the woods and make noise, they’re going to spook off and leave’.
Search crews were eventually able to discover the black bear – a yearling aged between one and two years old – standing over Sweatt-Mueller’s body.
Officers shot the bear while another yearling and a sow were nearby in the brush, acting aggressively, making noises with their mouths and stomping
Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will decide whether to capture or kill those two bears.
That’s a wrap on another wonderful adventure on Rainy Lake. See ya next year, 🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/AfSnAoCKKj
— Gunnar Carlson (@cigaradventures) September 2, 2019