OYSTERVILLE, Wash. -- A fed bear is a dead bear, according to state wildlife officials.
State officials said they've euthanized five bears that had become "so dangerously habituated to people" in the small town of Oysterville in Pacific County.
Five other bears were relocated to Mount Rainier National Park, officials with the Department of Fish and Wildlife said.
"I've never seen such a concentration of bears in such a small area. It was completely unnatural, and it was caused by people feeding wild animals," said Sgt. Dan Chadwick. "I hope we never have to do anything like this again."
Officials said bears that become too habituated cannot be released in the wild as they pose a threat to people.
Investigators believe one Oysterville resident had been feeding the bears for some time, spending some $4,000 a year on dog food to feed the bears. Neighbors who grew concerned over the increasing number of bears in the area finally lodged a complaint with the state, officials said.
But the bears had already become too domesticated by then, and when a wildlife official arrived, one of the bears crawled in the cab of his pickup truck.
Calling the deaths of the bears a tragedy, wildlife officials urged people to refrain from feeding bears.