TAHOE (CBS13) — A trip to take out the trash took a wild turn after a woman came face-to-face with a bear. It happened in Tahoe last week and ended with the bear being euthanized.
We hear it a lot: "Be bear aware" by keeping your home locked and trash secured, so bears won't start snacking in your yard. But sadly, in this case, an open door led to a woman being hurt and a bear dead.
Shock gave way to a serious message after clean-up got chaotic at a woman's Tahoe home.
"We're just so grateful that she's going to be physically OK. The injuries weren't horrific, but can you imagine how traumatic that must have been for her? And not to mention the poor bear who lost his life because of this," said Ann Bryant with Bear League.
Authorities say the woman left her front door open while taking out the trash, but when she walked back in, this bear had made himself at home.
"He was out in the world on his own for the first time and looking for opportunities, and he had found food at this place many times, according to the neighbors," Bryant said.
The Bear League estimates the bear was a little over a year old and was recently separated from his mother. When the bear's exit was blocked, experts say the bear did what wild animals tend to do.
"The bear panicked, and he tried to push her out of his way, and in doing so, he scratched her," Bryant said.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers were brought in to tranquilize the bear. His DNA was later checked for proof he was involved.
"It did come back that it was his DNA, so they euthanized him right away," Bryant said.
This human-bear conflict with an unfortunate outcome was an important reminder.
"Don't feed the bears, don't leave your doors and windows open, don't block a bear's escape route. You know there are many lessons here to be learned," Bryant said.
So, why did the bear have to be killed? The Bear Lague said, in California, if there is any physical contact between a bear and a human, the bear can be killed.
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