MURRYSVILLE (KDKA) — An unwelcome visitor in one local neighborhood. A black bear has been showing up in people’s yards, and it has some neighbors a little on edge.
Melissa DeStefano captured pictures of the bear in her backyard in the Settler’s Ridge neighborhood of Murrysville. She also showed us how it mauled several of her bird feeders.
“He just yanked it up and bent it, very easily,” said DeStefano.
Her dog, Sophie, was the first to notice it.
“We all looked out the window and probably said some colorful language at the time,” said DeStefano. “It’s a bear, a rather large bear!”
She says the bear has been spotted in yards at least six times. The first time was a month ago.
But it was Sunday that the bear visited her yard twice and another yard a good distance away.
“The bear was right on the other side of the steps,” said Vince Lazor as he pointed to where he saw the bear.
It happened Sunday evening as he walked out of his garage. It was only about 20 feet away.
“It looked at me and didn’t seem too interested at all,” said Lazor. “I was curious, if I had waited five more minutes, if it would have come up to the grill where I was grilling earlier.”
DeStefano says the Pennsylvania Game Commission has told her that neighbors should take down bird feeders, store trash inside and make sure they clean their grills after using them.
Bears have a strong sense of smell and are always looking for food.
She says the Game Commission may consider trapping and relocating the bear, but only if it remains in the neighborhood after people take away the food sources or if it becomes troublesome.
But Michele Lazor would like to see the bear go now.
“I don’t know what they’re waiting for,” said Lazor. “Are they waiting for it to maul a dog or cat or animal or something?”
No one was available at the Game Commission who could address the bear issue when KDKA-TV called Wednesday night.
DeStefano says the Game Commission told her to make noise if she sees the bear again, so she now carries a whistle when she takes her dog out.
“I’d rather have this bear roaming in the forest. Not in our backyards,” said DeStefano. “This was really unnerving, and we have a lot of young children in this neighborhood. Dogs, pets, kids, grandkids. So we’re hoping Mr. Bear moves on maybe with the help of the Game Commission.”
Pa. Wildlife Conservation Officer Dan Puhala tells the “KDKA Morning News” it is hard to trap a bear unless there is a pattern.
“To put a trap out, unless the bear is coming back on a regular basis, two or three days in a row where you can get some sort of a pattern, it’s really hard to trap them,” said Puhala.
Puhala adds in most cases once the food sources are taken away, the bear will go away.
“This time of year, they’re typically young bears that tend to wander too close to houses that are attracting them, like bird feeders or garbage or grills, they’re going to hang out in that area for a little while,” said Puhala.