New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866
Media contact: Karl Moffatt: (505) 476-8007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JULY 23, 2016:
Cloudcroft homeowner kills bear attacking dogs
CLOUDCROFT – A man shot and killed a bear after it attacked two of his dogs outside his home Thursday.
The adult female bear had two cubs which were captured at the scene and placed in the care of Dr. Kathleen Ramsay, an Española area veterinarian specializing in rehabilitating sick and injured wildlife.
The incident occurred when the man’s wife heard her two small dogs barking and went outside to discover two cubs on her patio, said New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Conservation Officer Marcelino Peralta.
The startled cubs bawled out for their mother who then came running around the corner. The woman fled into her house, but her two small dogs slipped out the open door. A fight ensued between the adult bear and the dogs, during which the woman attempted to scare the bear away. The woman’s husband arrived armed with a .22-caliber pistol and fired a single shot in the bear’s direction, Peralta said.
The bear ran off and collapsed about 40 yards away, dead from an apparent gunshot wound, Peralta said. One of the cubs was found near the house and the other was found in a tree.
“This is a very unfortunate incident,” Peralta said. “The homeowner reacted in defense of his dogs.”
The homeowners kept a clean yard, free of typical bear attractants such as bird feeders, compost piles or barbecue grills, Peralta said. But the home is in a sparsely populated rural area bordered by forest land that is home to many bears and other wildlife.
The two bear cubs will join two other orphan cubs being cared for by Dr. Ramsay. Each cub will cost approximately $6,000 to rehabilitate for future release into the wild.
The Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation provides financial and logistical aid to help rehabilitate wild animals of New Mexico. For more information or to make a donation to help rehabilitate these bear cubs, please visit the foundation online at www.landofenchantment.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or send correspondence to P.O. Box 957, Santa Cruz, NM 87567.
Here are some ways to protect yourself and help bears survive if you live in or visit bear country.
If you encounter a bear:
- Stop, and back away slowly while facing the bear. Avoid direct eye contact, as the bear may consider that a threat. Do not run. Make yourself appear large by holding out your jacket. If you have small children, pick them up so they don’t run.
- Give the bear plenty of room to escape, so it doesn’t feel threatened or trapped. If a black bear attacks you, fight back using anything at your disposal, such as rocks, sticks, binoculars or even your bare hands. Aim for the bear’s nose and eyes.
- If the bear has not seen you, stay calm and slowly move away, making noise so the bear knows you are there. Never get between a mother bear and her cubs.
If you live or camp in bear country:
- Keep garbage in airtight containers inside your garage or storage area. Place garbage outside in the morning just before pickup, not the night before. Occasionally clean cans with ammonia or bleach.
- Remove bird feeders. Bears see them as sweet treats, and often they will look for other food sources nearby.
Never put meat or sweet-smelling food scraps such as melon in your compost pile.
- Don’t leave pet food or food dishes outdoors at night.
- Clean and store outdoor grills after use. Bears can smell sweet barbecue sauce and grease for miles.
- Never intentionally feed bears to attract them for viewing.
- Keep your camp clean, and store food and garbage properly at all times. Use bear-proof containers when available. If not, suspend food, toiletries, coolers and garbage from a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet out from the tree trunk.
- Keep your tent and sleeping bag free of all food smells. Store the clothes you wore while cooking or eating with your food.
- Sleep a good distance from your cooking area or food storage site.