Bear Surprises Man in Dumpster, Man Files Lawsuit for Injuries Sustained While Fleeing

by Courtney Blackann

No one expects to come face to face with a giant bear while biking through trails or taking a leisurely hike. Even more so, no one expects to see one while taking out the trash.

However, John Donaldson experienced just that. In an incident that would make anyone’s heart race, the man was visiting a condo near Lake Tahoe when he decided to take his dog for a little walk.

After his dog did its business and Donaldson picked up after him, the man carried the waste to a nearby dumpster – and got the surprise of his life. When he opened the dumpster lid, Donaldson saw a giant bear inside. It was presumably enjoying whatever leftovers it could find.

Terrified when the bear appeared just as startled and made moves to come towards the man, Donaldson hurried away in a full run.

But his nerves got the best of him and Donaldson toppled over, injuring himself in the incident.

He suffered a torn achilles tendon as well as some spinal injuries, making surgery his only option.

Now Donaldson is suing the condominiums for medical and punitive costs for his injuries. The man claims that bears are a known problem in the area and had the dumpster not been broken, the bear wouldn’t have been able to get into it.

“It is well known and established that Incline Village, as well as other parts of Lake Tahoe, has a serious and persistent bear problem, predominantly trash-related,” the lawsuit reads.

When Bears Attack

While Donaldson didn’t escape injury, he at least didn’t come under attack from the wild animal or his fate may have been much worse.

In another incident this month, a Russian woman was the victim of a bear attack after she went into the woods. The woman left a wedding after getting into an argument with another guest. While she attempted to make emergency calls to local authorities, no one could locate her in time.

Prints from a mother bear and her cubs were in the area. Officials said this is a sign of something gruesome.

“If a person accidentally finds themselves between a bear and her cubs, the predator can attack immediately and harshly, without growls and warnings,” Wildlife Inspector Andrei Sakulin said.

Rescuers attempted to search for the woman with tracking dogs. However, the dogs came across her scent with bears which rendered them useless after it scared them.

Officials said the outlook is bleak. The woman likely succumbed to an attack after she didn’t know the proper way to avoid an interaction. Authorities also warned that when faced with a bear, a potential victim should never run, but carefully move sideways in an attempt not to trigger a chase.