SPARTA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An 81-year-old woman is recovering after being attacked by a bear.

It happened right outside the woman’s home in Sparta. Police said she was hurt trying to defend her dogs, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Tuesday.

READ MORE: Police: Another Dog Killed In Bear Attack In Sparta, N.J.

The bite marks and claw marks are clearly visible on a green trash can outside a home on Echo Drive. The homeowner had put her garbage out Monday and then let her dogs out later on, not realizing she had company in the form of two black bears.

“The bears already had gotten into garbage and they had it all laid out on ground. They were eating, and, of course, the instinct of the dogs were to go at the bear and that’s where things turned bad,” Sparta Police Lt. John Lamon told CBS2’s Meg Baker on Tuesday.

The bigger bear ran into the woods, but the other, described as being around 500 pounds, stood its ground.

“The bear had hit the one dog, knocked it down,” Lamon said.

Police said the 81-year-old woman then went after the bear.

“Very feisty. She said she actually started punching the bear and then the bear turned towards her and she wound up getting bit on her leg,” Lamon said.

The bear then dragged one dog into the woods, with the other dog in pursuit. Police transported the injured dog to the animal hospital, but it did not make it.

READ MORE: Family Of Black Bears Invade New Jersey Neighborhood

“She is just pretty distraught about the fact that her dog had basically been killed by the bear,” Lamon said.

Police say black bears are very common in this area and they often just walk right out of the woods. The lieutenant said people often wait to put their trash out until the very last minute because of the bears’ habits.

“We’ve had bears come up behind us, not to us, but they were just walking through, and so we’ve never had an aggressive bear,” neighbor Barbara Taylor said. “You don’t come between a bear and its food or its cubs.”

Neighbors said they worry about their dogs, too.

“I feel bad for the woman. Your instinct is to save your dog, but it’s dangerous to come between you and two dogs that are fighting, let alone a bear,” Taylor said.

New Jersey Fish and Wildlife is investigating the situation and will evaluate the bear.

The victim was transported to Newton Hospital, She received several stitches to her leg and was given antibiotics for her injuries.

MORE NEWS: Residents In New Jersey On Edge After Recent Bear Sightings

CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team