A mother black bear killed a cocker spaniel on Stonefield Road in Avon on Friday afternoon.
Linda Jensen, the dog's owner and an Avon resident, said she heard a yelp from her brown cocker spaniel, Max when she and a coworker in her Enchanted Gardening business were returning to the backyard of 38 Stonefield Road during a landscaping job for the Largay family.
She saw the back of the large bear standing over Max, and when she and her coworker thought the bear would come after them, they raced to her car for safety. They called the police at 11:29 a.m. reporting the incident. Jensen drove her car onto the lawn near the bear and honked her horn loudly so that it would go away after unsucessful attempts of making loud noises outside the vehicle to scare it. The bear finally moved, but remained on the property and her two cubs were in a nearby tree.
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection conservation police were at the scene Friday afternoon, as well as Avon police.
Animal Control Officer Beverly LaPlume raced to Max as soon as she got on scene to check if there was a way to save him, but there was not.
Jensen had adopted the cocker spaniel from the Avon Canine Shelter in November 2006, after the dog was found abandoned in Collinsville, according to the Avon LaPlume, so she knew Max well. After leaving the scene, LaPlume stayed with Jensen and her husband, Robert Anania at their home to console them.
Jensen would often take Max with her to jobs, for company and because she is hard of hearing and thought Max could alert her to any wildlife on the Largays' secluded property.
While she was working, she tethered Max to a chair on the patio, and she said she walked away for a minute to talk to her coworker in the front yard, which is when the bear approached. The bear had taken a swipe at the dog and the dog tried to defend intself, but the injuries were fatal.
The dog "died on-scene due to its injuries," Lt. Kelly Walsh, spokesperson for the Avon Police Department, wrote in a press release.
LaPlume found a 40-pound bag of bird seed leaning against the house. Jensen said that the DEP officials that responded told her that people should not leave seeds exposed in their yards or bird feeders between April and snowfall because it attracts bears.
The DEP tranquilized the 225-pound bear and her two cubs, which were in a nearby tree during the attack. Her cubs weighed 18 and 20 pounds. The mother and her babies were tagged so the DEP can track them, now that they have been released back into the wild.
The mother bear was to be collared and tagged, "where she can be removed from the scene and reunited with her cubs," Walsh wrote.
WTNH-TV, which was also at the scene, reported that the DEP drove the bear and her cubs away in a green van.
The police department has gotten many calls in the past few days about bear sightings in town.
"For bear sightings, they call us all the time," Walsh said.
Any residents who have questions or concerns can call Walsh at 860-751-4585 at the police department or Dwayne Gardner at the DEP, 860-833-7742.
Under normal circumstances, if Avon residents spot a bear and "no one looks like they are in harm's way," they can call the routine police department phone number at 860-409-4200, Walsh said. If "they feel it might escalate to an emergency, call 911." Avon police will also refer incidents to the state DEP as necessary. Connecticut residents can also report bear sightings to the DEP online.