Black bear trapped, killed after breaking into house

Black bear trapped, killed after breaking into house »Play Video
A photo of a black bear, believed to be the one later trapped and euthanized in Veneta, Ore.

VENETA, Ore. -- Wildlife officials trapped and euthanized a black bear after the animal spent a week pawing at windows and doors before finally making its way into the house.

The meat from the bear's carcass was salvaged and donated to help feed the hungry, said Brian Wolfer, district wildlife biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"We try to utilize everything we can," Wolfer said.

Wolfer said the bear had been hanging around a Veneta residence for at least a week.  ODFW was notified of the bear on Tuesday and went out and found paw prints around windows and a door.

Wolfer said the bear bumped a door open on Monday. The door wasn't shut all the way so the bear nudged it open.  The bear also got into a chicken coop and killed birds.

"That, of course, gives us a lot of concern," said Wolfer.  "When a bear is bold enough to start looking into windows and at a house as a place to to try to find food."

State wildlife officials determined that because the bear was hanging around a house and knocking open a door, the bear was a potential threat to human safety. 

Wildlife officials trapped the bear and euthanized it, Wolfer said.  Relocation was not an option.

"Ultimately, human safety is our first priority," said Wolfer.  "We just can't take the risk hurting somebody later on when it's already demonstrating it's a risk to people."

The family that lived in the home was not feeding wildlife--on purpose or accidentially, Wolfer said.  During his visit, Wolfer did not spot food, garbage cans outside or compost piles containing food--all ways humans feed wildlife unintentionally.  However, that does not mean someone else in the area was not feeding bears.

Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense, is disappointed the bear was killed.

"I've worked with black bears for 30 years and I can tell you quite frankly, the policy of, whenever there's a situation like this, going and killing the bear is not going to remove the problem," said Fahy.  "Another bear will take its place or some other wildlife will come in.  People are simply attracting wildlife by inappropriately putting out food."

Fahy said, in his experience, bears who have learned to get food from humans can be trained to avoid them.  Bears, said Fahy, learn not to approach homes after being repeatedly driven off with loud noises, bright lights and Karelian dogs.