Bear shot after attack on home
A female bear between 300 and 500 pounds was shot Monday around midnight after it broke into a Kings Beach family’s home.
Albert Zamudio of the California Department of Fish and Game had to shoot the bear after it wouldn’t leave the property of Spencer and Deanna Marsh who live on the 1000 block of Canterbury Drive.
Deanna Marsh said the family – including their 10-year-old daughter, Kelly, – was sleeping when she heard the bear noisily climbing through the window.
“I walked out into the hallway, turned on the hallway light and saw the bear outside. That’s when I called 911,” Deanna Marsh said.
The family exited the home from a bedroom window just as the bear ripped off the screen of a window and a window box and entered the home.
The bear proceeded to open the refrigerator and began eating food and also looked for other food in the kitchen, she said.
By this time the Marshs were at a neighbor’s home where they waited for Placer County Sheriff’s Department officials to respond.
Zamudio estimates the bear was in the house for an hour before coming outside. He said he was hoping the bear would leave the area, but instead it lingered on the property for about two hours. He and a Placer County Sheriff’s deputy shot the bear with shotguns a total of four times aiming for the animal’s chest, Zamudio said. The bear was about 60-feet away from them when it was shot.
This was the first time Zamudio said he had to shoot a bear in his career with Fish and Game.
“It’s not something we like to do,” Zamudio said. “But once they get into one house, they know they can do it again.”
Deanna Marsh said she was hoping there was a better way alternative than having the bear shot. She did contact Placer Animal Control but officials there said they could not respond unless the bear was injured. She said fish and game is not permitted to use tranquilizers whereas animal control is.
“We were hoping they (animal control) could tranquilize the bear and then take it somewhere where they could do what they needed to do,” Marsh said.
Placer County Animal Control clerk Lori Woodward said they’ve been told by administration to not respond to wildlife unless it involves raccoons because of rabies control.
“We do not go out on bear calls because we are supposed to leave that up to Fish and Game,” Woodward said. In the past, she said animal control may have assisted Fish and Game with wildlife calls, but now they’ve been told not to.
Deanna Marsh said she took her daughter to see the carcass Monday morning to show her it was really dead. The elder Marsh said she would be “sleeping with one eye open,” Monday night.
This isn’t the first time the bear paid a visit to the Marshs’ home.
Last year around Thanksgiving, Deanna Marsh said the bear ripped the paneling off the garage door, went into a freezer in the garage and ate several tubs of whip cream.
She said they’ve been good about storing food and trash inside their home and last year when it broke into the garage they attempted such measures as putting ammonia saturated rags around the house and noise makers.
Marsh said she had seen the bear several times over a period of about two months.
Earlier on Sunday, she said they had been barbecuing but she cleaned everything afterward.
“We did all the right things but the bear still came,” she said.
Lt. Ken Nilsson with the California Department of Fish and Game said based on this bear’s history it had to be destroyed.
He said the department believes this same bear broke into a three story house just down the street from the Marshs’ home.
“It was a very bold bear that had become accustomed to people,” Nilsson said. “It was a public safety hazard. The big message in this whole incident is this was a people-caused incident.”
Kings Beach resident Rod Storm said he is appalled that the bear was killed.
With how long the bear stayed on the property, Storm said it probably could’ve have been tranquilized and relocated.
“During the winter a bear visited our home and was banging on the door. I called 911 and the dispatcher said bears are harmless and I should just take a picture of it. So that’s what I did and the bear left,” Storm said.
The shot bear received much media attention. News stations from Sacramento and Reno were at the scene.
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Winds and cooler weather will continue through the weekend, with temperatures starting to warm up next week, the National Weather Service said.