'Life of Riley:' Viral video of bear chasing dog brings limelight to Hewitt West Milford. The recent vrial video of local dog "Riley" chasing a black bear away gave neighbors in Hewitt a good amount of attention.

Jul 17 2019 | 11:57 AM

News trucks and reporters from throughout the region made for an uncommon sight on a quiet street in the Hewitt section of town last week after a neighborhood dog named Riley chased off a bear that was meandering in a resident’s yard.
”Kids were inside and I was in the garage chasing a snake out of it,” Mark Stinziano, owner of the home and yard that Riley so bravely protected, said of the bear incident.
When Stinziano’s daughter told him there was a bear in their backyard, he went to check it out and noticed his bird feeder on the ground.
That’s when he decided to take a look at the footage from his outside security camera and saw the incredible video that has now gone viral.
The video showed the bear walking around the backyard of the house and then tearing down a bird feeder.
it was then that Riley appeared, running through a broken part of the fence between the homes and attacking the bruin.
The bear then took off on a run to the woods with Riley in pursuit.
Neither were injured from the encounter.
Stinziano’s next-door neighbor and Riley’s owner, Alan Tlusty, wasn’t home at the time of the incident.
“I came home the next day and the Eyewitness News truck was here,” said Tlusty. “I didn’t even know what happened.”
When Stinziano’s daughter showed Tlusty the video, he simply saw his dog protecting his territory.
”Thinking about it, he did it more as a protector,” he said. “More than like attacking (the bear), (or) hurting.”
According to Tlusty, Riley considers Stinziano’s yard his own and has chased away everything from squirrels to chipmunks.
He also said that this is not the first time the dog has chased a bear away, either.
It is fitting for Riley to come to the rescue, though, as Tlustly got the dog himself as a rescue five years ago.
That’s why he can’t be sure of the dog’s exact age and breed, but Tlustly does know that Riley is a Black Lab mix from Missouri somewhere around 9-years-old.
“He’s very calm,” Tlusty said of his dog. “He’s great with people, kids.”
Tlustly and his wife’s previous dog resembled Riley and they were naturally heartbroken when it passed, so she searched the internet and found their newfound hero at a foster home in Midland Park.
As far as the media frenzy surrounding Riley’s brave act, both Stinziano and Tlusty agreed that “surreal” was the best word to describe it.
“It was on every major news channel, that night and the next day,” Tlusty said. “Then it really exploded.”
According to Stiziano, he’s been contacted by news outlets from as far away as China asking for his permission to use the video.
“It’s the definition of viral,” said Tlusty. “I’ve had friends from Seattle call me, Kentucky. They saw me on local news.”
Stinziano said that while his kids were not too happy with all the attention, they did get excited over certain famous shows coming to town to cover the story.
“We’re on minute ‘15’ right here,” he said of he and his neighbor’s sudden fame.
According to Stinziano, since Riley sometimes pops into his yard to play with his kids, he decided to just leave his fence down when it came time to replace it not too long ago.
In hindsight, he’s glad that he did and to show his appreciation to the hero, Stinziano got Riley a big box of treats and a rope dog toy.