Runner Details Life and New Fight After Surviving Bear Attack

A Determined Advocate

Within days of the attack, New Mexico officials were able to locate the bear because she was part of a study and wearing a GPS collar.  

New Mexico health regulations require that any wild animal—with the exception of rabbits and rodents—be euthanized if they attack, bite or scratch a person in order for the animal's remains to be tested for rabies, which is 100 percent fatal in humans if they don't receive preventative treatment.

The bear was killed and tested negative for the disease. Williams believes the regulation should allow officials to decide whether an animal should be euthanized based on the situation.

"Why are we killing the bear?" Williams asks. "I was in her house. I was a perceived threat to her kids. She did what any good human parent would do. She protected her children. She was behaving normally for a bear in that situation."

Killing the bear was also unnecessary because rabies in bears has not been reported anywhere in New Mexico, she argues. 

From 2011-2016, 107 animals tested positive for rabies, according to figures on the state's health department website. None of the animals were bears.

Williams' first attempt at loosening the kill requirement failed last year, but she's not going away quietly.  

"I learned a lot," she says. "I learned that I have no filter and rub people the wrong way nearly immediately. I will try again and again."

In the meantime, she spreads a message of respect for wildlife.

"Wild animals have no motive or malicious intent," she says. "They just do what they do to live in a very hard, wild world. If you want to share this world with them, be respectful of their rules."

Active logoREAD THIS NEXT: Runners vs. Wildlife: Do You Know How to React?

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