A 500-pound black bear attacked a horse at a private boarding facility in the southwest Denver suburbs, wildlife officials said.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife said the horse suffered deep cuts on its neck and claw marks on its side early Friday morning. DOW spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said the bear will likely not stay in the area and that it may have gone back to the mountains where it came from.

Churchill said this type of attack is rare and that the animals may have spooked each other in the dark.

Wildlife officials said they found paw prints near the area leading toward the boarding facility and other prints leading toward the mountains.

"We don't think at this time this bear is going to stay in that area or being going after livestock, it's a rare kind of situation," she said. The horse, named Cody, is expected to recover.

Officials believe the attack may have happened sometime between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Friday at a facility near Buckley Air Force Base, about 16 miles from Denver.

"I hope he kicked the bear's butt," said Kim Keck, whose 10-year-old daughter Shyenne owns Cody. Shyenne called Cody her "best friend."

"He's pretty much my whole life," she said.

Last week, two bears were spotted on the northern plains in Weld County, and near the foothills of Boulder County. One sighting was on a farm near Johnstown, 40 miles north of Denver, and the other in a Boulder backyard, about 25 miles northwest of Denver.

In Aspen, about 200 miles west of Denver, bear sightings have become increasingly common and problematic. Wildlife officers have killed at least nine bears this summer because of aggressive behavior.

As bears prepare for hibernation, they become more active in looking for food because they consume about 20,000 calories a day and spend about 20 hours a day eating.

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