Bear mauls pet in yard attack
ASHEVILLE — Andrea Hunnicutt feared her dog had been killed for all the snarls and wailing coming from her backyard just after letting Ms. Wiggles step outside about 11 p.m.
An angry mother bear with three cubs nearby had pulled the 20-pound dachshund-beagle mix into its paws, ripping open sections of the dog’s hindquarters.
Bears have been leaving their mark in city yards this spring, tearing through trash, knocking down birdfeeders and getting into confrontations with pets, said Joffrey Brooks of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
“The bear population is increasing, but the people population is increasing more,” he said.
Hunnicutt said the fight between Ms. Wiggles and the mother bear could have been much worse had her other dog, a 30-pound mix basenji named Captain Pickle not joined the fray and driven back the bear.
“I heard a lot of commotion,” Hunnicutt said. “When I came out on the deck that overlooks the yard, my male dog was running the bear out of the yard.”
Ms. Wiggles rested in Hunnicutt’s home Wednesday. A tube was implanted to drain fluid as the injuries healed. Brooks said he did not know exactly how many pets have fallen victim in bear encounters so far this year but said a late freeze destroyed some of the creatures’ food sources driving them to scavenge in residential areas.
A poor acorn crop in the fall forced many bears to enter hibernation without the proper amount of body fat.
“They’re living off of garbage and birdfeed,” he said. “If you have a bird feeder that gets attacked by a bear then you got to quit feeding the birds.”
Earlier this month, a mother bear with cubs killed two dogs outside a home near a developed section of Sweeten Creek Road.
Martha Drake, another North Asheville resident, has had her share of bear problems the past few weeks. After getting a bear-proof garbage container from the city, she said the bears have left her alone.
“It was used to be that I was able to open the door and step out and very loudly bang and tell him to get,” Drake said. “This year there was one that reared up at me.”