AUBURN (CBS13) – An Auburn man says he killed a bear to protect his life and his chickens, but neighbors are crying foul.
State wildlife officials say bear sightings are becoming more common because of the drought. Bears are known to get into people’s trash, in search of food and water.
But a 300-pound female bear lay dead in Earlene Olson’s yard Saturday morning after it attacked her neighbor’s free-roaming chickens – and she says it wasn’t the first time.
“I heard a gun go off and it raised a red flag, and heard another shot,” Olson said.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife says the neighbor maintains he killed the bear in self-defense.
Olson doesn’t blame him.
“I think if all of a sudden you have a bear in your front yard, the first thing you think to do would be to kill it,” Olson said
But some neighbors say it didn’t have to come to this.
“I think the bear just come out because he’s hungry,” said neighbor Lea Pisarek. “I wish he’d give second thought to killing the bear.”
Officials with Fish and Wildlife loaded the bear onto a truck Saturday evening. The neighbor, meanwhile, didn’t want to speak with us.
Investigators say the neighbor didn’t have a permit to kill the bear, but had called the sheriff’s department to complain about it.
“I’m sorry the whole situation happened. We didn’t have to lose another bear,” said Cindy McAyeal with the BEAR League.
McAyeal says it’s important to educate people to scare bears away, not resort to violence.
“I understand that a bear is frightening to anyone, but bears live here. They’re with us all the time just like cougars. They live right here with us,” McAyeal said.
She says drought conditions and wildfires are attracting bears into urban neighborhoods, making it difficult to strike a balance between what’s ours and theirs.
Fish and Wildlife says there are no reported cases in California of black bears killing people.