A Coquitlam, B.C. woman is in hospital after she was mauled by a bear in her own front yard.

Witnesses say the woman, Katy Yin, could have died were it not for neighbours who frightened the 250-pound cinnamon-coloured black bear away by screaming and throwing rocks.

"They threw rocks to try shooing it away," said neighbour Amy Lo. "Her scalp was torn, torn on the side. She was all covered in blood."

Blood covered the driveway and Yin had been driven back to her front door by the bear which bit her several times.

When the RCMP arrived, they say they had no choice but to destroy the bear.

"As a result of the grievous bodily harm, fear of death, the officers had to use lethal force," said Cpl. Tony S. Farahbakshian of the Coquitlam RCMP.

Coquitlam is a suburb of Vancouver that backs onto the mountains, and bear sightings here are very common.

Neighbours thought they were in no danger

The bear was photographed minutes before the attack by a neighbour a few doors down, said a man who gave his name as Roy.

The neighbours didn't think they were in any danger, he said.

"My wife said, 'The bear is back.' So we snapped a few pics and didn't think anything of it until we heard the sirens and heard a lady had been mauled down the street from us," he said.

Yin is in stable condition at Royal Columbian Hospital with one of her two teenage daughters at her bedside.

Neighbours say she was doing yard work, because she'd recently put the home up for sale. The family has lived there for at least six years.

Drake Stephens, the Bear Aware co-ordinator here, says he's concerned people are leaving too many bear 'attractants' around.

The victim does have a fresh water supply in the form of a fountain, peanuts scattered around, and a bird feeder full of seed which may have been factors in the attack.

The attack came as no surprise to some of the victim's neighbours. They've seen bears in the area recently and have called conservation officers -- but they say a dog might be better.

Joanne Rutkowski's family has Tofik, a golden doodle. That dog scared off a bear when the family met him hiking on the Westwood Plateau on Sunday.

"If it wasn't for him, we're not sure we'd be able to chase the bear away," said Rutkowski.

What to do when confronted by a black bear

If you come face-to-face with a black bear, here's what to do:

  • Face the bear calmly
  • Talk to the bear
  • Back away slowly
  • If the animal attacks, fight with all your might

Since 1986, 71 people in B.C. have been injured in black bear attacks. In those incidents, eight people have been killed.

With reports from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger, Sarah Galashan and Shannon Paterson