Bear kills Minnesota woman while she's searching woods for her dogs

The Maple Plain woman was staying in Canada at the time.

September 4, 2019, 8:29 PM

A Minnesota woman out searching for her barking dogs in the Canadian woods was attacked and killed by a black bear over the weekend.

Catherine Sweatt-Mueller, 62, from Maple Plain, was staying at a remote cabin on Red Pine Island in Rainy Lake, just a few miles over the Canadian border from Minnesota, when she went outside after hearing her dogs barking, according to the Ontario Provincial Police.

Mueller never returned to the cabin, which is about 10 miles northeast of International Falls, Minnesota. The woman's parents, who were staying with her, contacted police after she did not return, police said.

"They heard dogs yelping or barking," Ontario Provincial Police Constable James Davis told Minneapolis ABC affiliate KSTP. "The dogs returned to the cottage, the female didn't and the parents grew concerned."

PHOTO: A black bear is seen in this stock photo.
Keithbinns/STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

Police, which had to take a half-hour boat ride to the remote island, searched the woods on the island and found Mueller's dead body and bear.

"They observed there was a bear standing on top of the female," Davis said. "The bear was dispatched; it was shot by officers and the bear killed."

Jolanta Kowalski, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, called the bear attack "very rare."

"It sounds like something so rare, that doesn't happen, we're kind of in shock," Mueller's friend, Vonnette Mills, told KSTP.

Fatal bear attacks in North America are rare, though a man was killed by a brown bear in Canada's remote Northwest Territories two weeks ago, according to The Washington Post.

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