GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) — In a neighborhood full of nuisance bears, homeowners have the responsibility of fending off the animals themselves.
Over Thanksgiving, CBS13 reported on a Grass Valley man who said he punched a bear that was attacking his dog – and now it keeps coming back. This happened off You Bet Road in Grass Valley, an area where wildlife rescuers said there’s pressure to have bears trapped and moved.
Kaleb Benham, the man who fought a bear off his dog, said the bear was dragging his dog by the neck.
“My first thought was that I was going to lose him,” Benham said.
The dog suffered serious injuries.
“They normally go for berries, trash on this road. That’s a big thing. On trash day all the cans are knocked over there’s trash everywhere,” he said.
Benham said he hoped state officials would remove the bear. So CBS13 asked the Department of Fish and Wildlife about it.
A spokesperson said officers generally do not relocate so-called “nuisance” bears because it simply moves a problem from one community to another. But under California law, people can apply for a depredation permit, which allows residents to kill a problem bear.
It’s a measure of last resort.
“It’s deplorable, it’s disgusting, it’s unethical and I don’t agree with it,” said Ann Bryant, Executive Director of BEAR League.
Bryant is the head of the bear activist group in Tahoe and advocates for a softer approach.
“The people need to be educated on ‘How can I myself avoid having this problem?’ and it’s all about taking down the bird feeders, securing the trash until pick up day,” Bryant said.
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Fish and Wildlife said on rare occasions, a state game warden can kill a bear if it’s deemed a public safety threat.
They investigated the attack on Benham’s dog and said that bear does not meet the criteria.
“These are not nuisance bears these are normal bears responding to an invitation for food,” Bryant said.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife said instead of enforcement against bears they focus on educating the community. They urge people to secure their homes, trash cans and pets.