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Woman walking dogs attacked by bear in central Florida

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - A bear attacked and seriously injured a woman walking her dogs on Monday evening in Florida, a state where bear complaints have risen in recent years.

The woman from the central Florida town of Longwood was being treated at Orlando Regional Medical Center for serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to Lieutenant Alisa Keyes of Seminole County Fire and Rescue. Authorities did not release her name.

While the local news frequently has stories of foraging bears caught on tape, Keyes said she is not aware of any previous incident involving injuries.

"She was out walking her dogs. The bear attacked her. She got away and ran to a neighbor's house," Keyes said. "The bear ran off and they were unable to locate him."

Karen Parker of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, which sent biologists to the scene to search for paw prints and set a trap, said bears go into residential areas in search of easily obtainable food.

"It's fall and the bears are trying to fatten up," Parker said. "Our big message is remove attractants from your yard."

The wildlife commission receives the most complaints about bears in the northeast region of Florida, and the Ocala National Forest in central Florida, where most of them live, Parker said.

(Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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