California Man Saves Dog By Tackling, Punching 350 Pound Bear

by Jennifer Shea

A California man tackled and punched a 350-pound bear that had his dog’s head clasped between its jaws to save his dog from certain death.

On the day before Thanksgiving, Kaleb Benham was at home in Grass Valley, California, the New York Post reports. All of a sudden, he heard a strange noise from the backyard where his pit bull Buddy had been hanging out.

Bear Gnaws on Buddy’s Head

Benham said it was a growling noise. He went out, looked about 100 feet down and beheld every dog owner’s worst nightmare: a bear was dragging Buddy, a 90-pound rescue dog, by the head, away from the house. 

“Honestly the only thing I could think of was ‘save my baby,’” Benham told CBS 13.

He raced from the house to the bear and threw himself at his dog’s attacker.

“I just ran down there, plowed into the bear, tackled it and grabbed it by the throat and started hitting it in the face and the eye until it let go,” Benham said.

After he had chased off the bear, he had to get Buddy to a vet. It wasn’t easy finding a place that was open. The first vet he went to was shut down due to a COVID-19 exposure.

“My first thought was that I was going to lose him,” Benham said.

Emergency Surgery

Benham and Buddy then found their way to Mother Lode Veterinary Hospital. The vet immediately took Buddy into surgery. He had to get stitches, staples and tubes stuck into his head to siphon out fluid.

“I just stood there and watched through the window for 3 1/2 hours,” Benham said.

Buddy made it back home from the hospital still alive and in one piece. Benham spent Thanksgiving in bed with his pup, recovering from the attack.

But Benham has another worry. The bear has returned to the house multiple times since it nearly made off with Buddy.

“It made an attack and had its food and its food got taken from it and it wants it back, I feel like,” Benham said.

But he’s keeping an eye out and not letting his guard down. After rescuing Buddy from a shelter, Benham has raised him and, now, saved him from a bear. And he’s not about to let the bear take Buddy back.

“If it was your kid, what would you do?” Benham said. “That’s my kid, I would die for my dog.”