Officers with the Patrol Services Division of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service have responded to a second call for service regarding a black bear that has attacked a citizen.
Today at approximately 12:20 p.m. a woman was walking her dog off leash in the 1000 block of Old Garden River Road. The woman and her dog inadvertently came between 3 bear cubs that were in the area. Once that happened; a mother bear very quickly and aggressively charged at the woman.
At that point the dog engaged the bear and allowed the woman time to escape the area. The bear attacked the dog and the dog sustained life threatening injuries as a result of the encounter. The bear did stay in the area for approximately 20 minutes before leaving and police were then contacted.
Officers with the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service are working closely with officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources to coordinate a response and resolve this matter. In the meantime, citizens are reminded to use caution when dealing with bears. There are many things we can do to reduce the chances of an encounter.
Residents are reminded to keep garbage secure and inaccessible to animals. Members of the public are urged to contact the Police and The Ministry of Natural Resources Bear Wise Hotline to report encounters.
In an emergency situation where a bear poses an immediate threat to public safety, people are encouraged to call 911 immediately. These situations may include a bear that is;
Entering a school yard when school is in session,
Stalking people and lingering at a site,
Entering or trying to enter a residence,
Wandering into a public gathering,
Killing livestock/pets and lingering at the site.
For all non-emergency encounters citizens are encouraged to call the toll-free Bear Wise hotline at 1-866-514-2327 (TTY 705-945-7641). These situations may include a bear that is;
Roaming around, checking garbage cans
Breaking into a shed where garbage or food is stored
In a tree
Pulling down a bird feeder or knocking over a barbecue
Moving through a backyard or field but is not lingering.
Trained staff with The Ministry of Natural Resources can provide advice about black bear behaviour, how to avoid human-bear conflicts, and how to remove attractants from your property to reduce your chances of an encounter.
The Bear Wise program provides advice to municipalities, the public, and other stakeholders about what they can do to keep black bears away from urban and semi-urban areas and how to manage problem bears. Visit Ontario.ca/bearwise for tips on how to reduce the chances of an encounter and to learn more about bears.
Remember, it only takes one property where attractants are not managed carefully to draw bears into a neighbourhood. Everyone must work together to help keep attractants to a minimum and reduce the likelihood of an encounter.