Graphic: Bear slashes man's face

Posted at 3:05 PM, Jan 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-11 15:05:00-05

NAPLES, FL (WINK/CNN) - A man is happy to be alive after he was attacked by a bear right outside his home.  

It's the first time a bear has attacked a human in the area since 1970. 

"I can't believe just got hit by a bear. The rest of it's kind of a big blur," Andy Meunier said.

He is still trying to piece together the memories of the bear attack that left him with 41 stitches across his face. 

"It felt like somebody punched you," Meunier said. "I mean, I didn't feel the cuts or anything, and it wasn't until I got back inside I looked down on my hand and saw blood all over." 

Meunier said he let his dog out around 11 p.m. Tuesday when he walked outside and saw a 4' bear standing next to him. 

"I came outside and he was right there, and I tried to run. And it wasn't fast enough," he said.

As the bears claw tore into flesh, Meunier fought to get away. 

"I just tried to go like this to try to get back in, and it just did one of these. And I kind of flew that way and got myself together and somehow got in the door," he said. 

He said his 7-year-old daughter was asleep inside their apartment, and all he could think about was staying alive. 

"That's ran through my head," Meunier said. "What if it was awful, and she came downstairs wondering where I was and there I was laying? Yeah, it's scary." 

Meunier said once he escaped, he threw a T-shirt over his cuts and called 911. 

He said when he looks at the wound, he thanks his lucky stars. 

"I'm really just happy to be alive. It could've been a totally different story," Meunier said.

Neighbors say bears are common in the area and are often seen digging through the trash. 

Wildlife officials recommend using secure trash bins that bears can't open. 

Copyright 2018 WINK via CNN. All rights reserved.