By Shirin Rajaee

LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) — With increased bear sightings and home break-ins, more homeowners in Lake Tahoe are taking extra precautions to protect their properties.

Companies that install electric fencing technology have gotten a huge spike in calls for service just in the last few weeks.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, this is the time of year that we see an increase in bear activity. They’re not hibernating, they’re out, looking for food. But a lot of folks are finding out the hard way that they may need to do more to protect their homes.

“When I rounded the corner about 10 a.m. he was just climbing in the bedroom,” said Liz Sullinger.

Sullinger came face to face with a bear Wednesday morning. It’s the second time the bear has broken into her Lake Tahoe home in just 5 days.

“He went in through here, down the hall into the kitchen.

After ransacking her kitchen for food, Sullinger used an air horn to scare it away.

“My heart was racing most of the afternoon cause I was on such high alert,” she said.

Sullinger says she never thought about electric fencing for her home, but now she’s one of the dozens of people racing to get it installed.

“Right after the Fourth of July is when my calls started coming in, I think I had 10 different owners call me today,” said Bear Busters owner Ryan Welch.

Welch says bear break-ins are becoming more and more rampant. There have been a number of sightings and each time there’s an emergency, he gets a call.

“It’s kind of a matter time whether a bear will break into your home,” said Welch.

Welch has taken the standard electric fencing that has been used for decades for livestock and remodeled the technology to fit the needs of the homes, from an electric mat to bungee chords on doors and wires on windows.

“The bear has to make contact with the wires to interact with that door or that window, and it shocks the bear, it does, but it doesn’t physically harm them, it scares them off of the house,” he said.

With this heatwave, many homeowners want to keep their windows open at night, and as long as they activate the electric wires, they feel safe.

“It’s giving them a peace of mind, and for some of them it’s just making them sleep better,” said Welch.

Through Bear Busters installations cost between $1,500-$2,500.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says these bear sightings and break-ins will likely get worse come fall, as they try to fatten up before they go into hibernation and so being proactive now to protect your home is key.

Shirin Rajaee


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