Local dog seriously injured by bear

| 22 Feb 2012 | 06:57

Unprovoked attack leads to capture and death of the offending bruin, BY CHRIS WYMAN Vernon — After a bear viciously attacked a local dog, Vernon Police turned the matter over to the state's Division of Fish and Wildlife. A "culvert trap" big enough to lure a bear inside was set up and the offending bear captured and killed. Here's how it all began. According to the Vernon Township Police Department, on the morning of Monday, Aug. 15, a Barry Lakes resident arrived at police headquarters to report that her dog had been attacked by a black bear. The resident said that her dog was in her yard when the attack occurred and according to the police report, it was an unprovoked attack. The resident explained that immediately following the attack she took her dog to her veterinarian for treatment. Police investigated the incident and confirmed with the veterinarian that the injuries the dog sustained were consistent with a bear attack. Police unsuccessfully attempted to locate the black bear and then reported the incident to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife who took over the case. Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the Division of Fish and Wildlife, confirmed this week that when a property owner is "subjected to an aggressive bear incident (they) may request setting of a trap — so that's what we did." The culvert trap, he said, "is a round pipe cylinder the size of a culvert that has a sliding door that closes when the bear enters it." The trap is about seven or eight feet long and three to four feet high and it's baited with an "attractant," Hajna said, which is typically boysenberry and bacon scented. Aggressive sow The bear wanted for the Barry Lakes attack was a large, older female with four first-year cubs. The sow was easily identified by its unique offspring that include two black-colored medium sized cubs and two brown-colored smaller cubs. The same five bears are known to frequent the Barry Lakes Clubhouse’s dumpster on Wawayanda Road. According to residents, there is also a second bear with four cubs in the immediate area. According to the dog owners, at the time of the attack, they had brought their 10-year-old, male, 92-pound, chocolate Labrador Retriever into their back yard for its morning walk at around 7 a.m. Moments later the dog's owner saw five bears partially concealed by shrubbery in his neighbor’s yard. The neighbor has fruit trees in the back yard. He immediately called to his dog and it started to come, but then one of the four cubs began walking away into a wooded area behind the houses. At that time, the sow aggressively climbed over a fence into the resident’s yard and charged the dog. The sow swatted the dog once causing it to fly across the yard. The bear then attacked the dog again by biting it once in the head and twice in its hindquarters, the owner said. He said his dog appeared to be shocked and barked loudly at the attacking bear for 15 to 20 seconds. The dog then retreated to the safety of the house. The man stated, “There was something wrong with that bear,” since it had no apparent fear of either people or dogs. The residents then gave their dog first aid but were unable to take him the veterinarian since the sow remained on their property, circling the house, while the four cubs raided a second neighbor’s outdoor grill. After the bears finally left the area, the residents brought the wounded pet directly to the vet’s office, and then went to the Vernon police station to report the incident. The dog required about 100 stitches including surgery to repair a punctured anal gland. According to the vet, it was fortunate that the dog was overweight so that additional internal organs were not injured. The dog is expected to fully recover, although additional surgical procedures may be required, the vet said. Identifying the bear On Wednesday, following the attack, Fish, Game and Wildlife workers placed a culvert trap to catch the bear. A sow and one cub were first captured at 4:30 a.m. Thursday, but this was not the offending animal and they were released. Hajna of the Division of Fish and Wildlife said the identification of the bear was established by the homeowner. The trap was reset on Thursday afternoon. At about that time, the five bears that were being sought were spotted at the Barry Lakes Clubhouse’s dumpster by a lake association employee. At 5 a.m. Friday morning, the offending bruin was caught in the trap. While the cubs remained in the tress nearby, Fish and Wildlife workers arrived and when the 200-plus pound bear was positively identified, the bear was "euthanized" and was later removed by truck. According to the residents, the state workers said that they believe the same bear, in separate incidents, attacked two dogs in the Lake Wanda section of town and that the bear was suspected of home entries or attempted home entries in the area. Following the incident and as recently as Friday evening, at least two known bear activists in two different vehicles were seen driving up and down local Barry Lakes roads near where the incident occurred. The homeowners requested anonymity so as not to be identified by bear activists who have been known to protest at sites where bears have been trapped. According to Fish and Wildlife, so far this year there have been five unprovoked bear attacks against dogs compared to only three for the same period in 2010.