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Woman mauled by bear in her NH kitchen lost an eye but feels lucky, still likes most bruins

Union Leader Correspondent

August 10. 2018 9:36AM
Joined by her granddaughter, Paige Murray, left and daughter Stacey Murray, right, Apryl Rogers, who was injured by a bear that entered her Groton home on July 17, held an impromptu interview on Thursday at the southbound Hooksett rest area on I-93. Rogers was returning to a care facility in the Manchester area following a checkup at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. (John Koziol/Correspondent)

Despite losing an eye, spending 23 days in the hospital, and facing the prospect of more surgeries, Apryl Rogers considers herself “lucky” that a July 17 confrontation with a bear in the kitchen of her Groton home wasn’t worse.

“It was 11:30 at night and I was in bed and I heard this ruckus and thought ‘What the heck could it be,’ and I found out,” the 71-year-old said Thursday after a checkup at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center,

It turned out to be a bear that had blundered into the kitchen of her home on Halls Brook Road. Rogers doesn’t remember how long the bear stayed in her house, only that it was “too long.”

She’s also a bit fuzzy on what happened after the bear injured her, recalling that, although bleeding profusely, she was able to roll her wheelchair over to the phone in her living room and dial 9-1-1.

Rogers said she still likes bears — although not the one that was in her kitchen.

“I wanted to open the door and say ‘bye’ but that didn’t happen,” she said during an interview at the southbound rest area on Interstate 93 in Hooksett.

She and her daughter, Stacey Murray, were headed to a care facility in the Manchester area.

New Hampshire Fish and Game officials believe the bear that got into Rogers’ house followed its nose, possibly attracted by bird food outside and the smell of cat food from inside. The bruin pushed its way through a not-fully-latched door and then set about ransacking the kitchen.

At some point, the door closed behind the bear, trapping it and setting up the confrontation with Rogers. Because there was an exchange of blood between Rogers and the bear, state health officials wanted the bear caught, euthanized and its brain tested for rabies.

The bear, however, evaded a canine team and a trap set for it, requiring Rogers to undergo treatment for possible exposure to the disease.

Rogers’ time at her home in Groton, to which she hopes to return, has been marked by other hardships. Her husband, Albert Rogers Jr., died last August. Rogers, who suffers from Guillain–Barré syndrome and requires a wheelchair to get around, has previously suffered a stroke and a cranial hematoma.

During the July 17 encounter in her kitchen, the bear struck Rogers about the head with its claws. Rogers’ left cheek was punctured, and her left eye socket was fractured. Doctors at DHMC later removed her left eye and used skin from another part of her body to make her an eyelid.

“I still see very well with my right eye,” said Rogers.

She thanked the Hebron Fire Department, which handles calls in Groton, for the care paramedics gave her and also expressed gratitude to her doctors at DHMC and her occupational therapist, whom she sees daily.

As to words of wisdom, Rogers offered the following: “Make sure you keep your doors locked” so that bears can’t get into your residence.

Public Safety Animals Hooksett

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