NORTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) — Sheriff’s deputies in North Lake Tahoe had to get creative as they devised a plan to free a bear cub trapped in a dumpster.
They filmed the entire rescue and had to work cautiously as the mother bear was watching closely with siblings nearby.
The sound of a crying bear had neighbors distressed.
“It’s kind of disconcerting it almost sounds like a child crying,” Sgt. Don Nevins with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said. “And that’s how the call first came in, we got a 911 call and somebody was reporting a disturbance behind a motel in Kings Beach.”
Sgt. Nevins responded with deputies Bryant and Staley, discovering the bear cub trapped in the dumpster behind the Crown Motel. But the deputies quickly discovered they had a bigger problem.
“Mom was circling the dumpster and you don’t really want to get between the mother bear and her cub,” Nevins said.
As the cub whined in distress, deputies used the lights and sirens on the SUV to scare the mother bear and a sibling to a distance. They then used an oar to prop the dumpster open and dropped a step ladder inside. As they backed away, the bear cub made good on his escape.
“Figured if we put the step ladder in the dumpster the cub would make his own way out which he did he really wanted out of there,” Nevins said.
The video has been a hit on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page, and they’ve been inundated with positive attention. Sgt. Nevins says its a good thing.
“We need to have a bear as a mascot at the Sheriff’s Office because people really love bears,” Nevins said.
Management at the Crown Motel said wildlife comes with the territory in Tahoe.
“I’ve dealt with raccoons before and getting them out of the dumpster, but when I heard about the bear thing I was like ‘Thank God I’m not a sheriff in Lake Tahoe,’” motel manager Katerina Jarrett Jaensch said.
It was Katerina’s son Jeremiah who forgot to lock the dumpster Tuesday night.
“I’ll never forget to do it again,” Jeremiah said.
The bears didn’t go far and spent the entire night up a nearby tree, finally leaving by walking down to the beach and swimming down the lake in front of startled locals.
Nevins says he will never forget this 911 call and the sound of the crying bear cub.
“I’ve only been working up here for three years and that’s been the limit of my bear experience and this was something new for sure,” Nevins said.