[Updated] Bear B-1 Charges House In North Madison: DEEP Plans To Trap, May Have To Euthanize Bear [Video]

After charging the Nace household on County Road in North Madison, a call to the local animal control officer prompts involvement of state wildlife officials who say they will either engage in "adverse conditioning" with B-1 or euthanize her.


After Bear B-1 charged a house on County Road in North Madison Tuesday, a report from the local animal control officer to the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection has prompted state wildlife officials to set a trap for the bear.

Madison 911 is warning North Madison residents to use caution. "Bear activity reported-County Road & Summer Hill. Do not approach the bear. Remove bird feeders and other attractants."

State Wildlife Biologist Paul Rego said Tuesday that the state plans to set a trap for the bear Tuesday. If she is caught, the state will determine whether to engage in "adverse conditioning" with the bear, in an effort to instill a fear of humans in her. Or, if after reviewing incidents involving the bear, they determine that she is a danger, she will be euthanized, Rego said.

"This bear seemed to do more than" bluff

Rego said it appears from the video that Bear B-1 charged the house in North Madison after the homeowner tried to shoo it away. "Sometimes a bear will bluff charge when they feel threatened," he said. "This bear seemed to do more than that."

A homeowner who lives on Genesee Lane, said he was charged by the bear over the weekend.

"I walked out [into my backyard], not realizing the bear was still there," he said. "She took about three quick steps in my direction, and I went scrambling back into the house.  A bluff charge, but scary."

Trying to shoo it away, when it charged house

A homeowner who lives on County Road, said he had an encounter with Bear B-1 Tuesday.

"I was trying to shoo it away and started filming it out my window and it actually attacked the house," he said. "Luckily I shut the window in time. I've alerted the town and the DEP is going to trap and relocate it."

Rego said the DEEP does not relocate bears "in the classic sense."

Trap will be set for the bear, adverse conditioning possible

"We are going to set a trap for the bear," he said. "Then we will have to review all of the information. We do not relocate in the classic sense. If we capture the bear--and there is no guarantee that we will--we may put it through aversive conditioning and relocate it less than ten miles away."

He said the goal would be to instill a fear of humans in Bear B-1, who has been staking out lawn parties, swimming in backyard pools, and tearing down bird feeders in North Madison. State officials think she is a yearling, meaning that she is not yet breeding, and that she has been ranging over a large section of the southern portion of the state. She was tagged in Windsor about a year and a half ago.

Aversive conditioning is "putting the bear through an unpleasant experience with the hope that she will become shy of humans," Rego said.

Options depend on level of problem, type of problems

"Other options depend on the level of problems and type of problems," he said. "One option is to euthanize the bear."

In order to determine whether averse conditioning or euthanizing is the better option, state wildlife officials will review the available information on the bear, he said. "We have to review the complaints," Rego said.

He said Bear B-1 was not being playful when she rushed the house, as shown in the video.

"There is no guarantee that we will capture her today"

"Sometimes they will bluff charge when they feel threatened. This bear seemed to do more than that. We are going to set the trap today. There is no guarantee that we will capture her today," he said.

The North Madison neighborhood where Bear B-1 has settled is heavily wooded, with acres of uninhabited water company property adjacent to neighborhoods full of beautiful homes with tidy front yards and back yards built for outdoor fun, many of them with outdoor patios, hammocks, and some with pools.

The homeowner who videotaped the bear, who lives on County Road with his wife, two children anda  dog, said they felt bad when they learned that the bear might have to be reconditioned and relocated and/or euthanized. They said they felt an obligation to report the incident to the Madison Police Department, which is what the state recommends when someone has an encounter with a bear.

"We'd feel horrible if something happened and we didn't report it"

"I do feel bad for her too but it seems like she's getting closer, and closer and closer and more and more comfortable with people," the homeower on County Road said Tuesday evening, working in her kitchen while helping her children with their homework. "God forbid it'd end up in someones yard with their kids. We'd feel horrible if something happened and we didn't report it."

The homeowner on County Road who was working from home Tuesday in his dining room, said he decided to videotape the bear on a whim, after seeing it pass by the window and then explore the yard about 20 to 25 feet away from the window in the room where he was working.

The homeowner on County Road has done a lot of camping and is familiar with bears. He knows that most bears will leave when they detect the presence of a human, or are shooed away by a loud noise. "When you're camping, you're lucky to see a bear, they're so shy," he said. He said he knows one woman in Burlington who has a bear visit her driveway every morning. Every morning she has to blow the car horn. Every morning it scares the bear away.

"She made it form the shed to the house in milliseconds"

And so he wasn't particularly worried about the bear and assumed it would saunter off when it heard his voice. Instead, the bear covered the distance between the shed and the house in seconds, he said, leaping over a willowy, five-foot lilac bush to reach the window where he was standing. "She seemed like she was going about 30 miles per hour and jumped over that lilac like it was a twig," he said. "She made it from the shed to the house in milliseconds. If I had kept taking the video, she would have had my arm."

"If I didn't close the window, I'm sure she would have come in," he said. "That thing moved so fast, I slammed the window on her nose."

He said someone later told him that bears who bluff charge will stop five to 10 feet away. "You're supposed to stand your ground when they're charging," he said. "They're supposed to stop. But she did not. This was not a bluff charge."

"This one does not act like other bears"

The homeowner said he and his family loves nature and loves seeing wild animals. The neighborhood in past years has tolerated visits from many bears in past years, including a 500-lb bear that frequented the area last year. But it would leave when humans showed up.

"I've never been afraid of bears and I'm still not really," he said. "I'd hate to see it relocated. But this one does not act like other bears. It has gotten used to humans."

The homeowner said he and his family are not afraid to go outside and indeed, when they received a visitor Tuesday evening who called from the driveway to let them know she was there, the homeowner came out to walk her inside. He said he will still take his dog for a walk, but plans to take an air horn when he does. He said the air horn was not nearby and handy Tuesday afternoon, since he did not expect to see it from his house.

"The police were great"

He said he has a shotgun, but that it has a trigger lock, he's not sure it works and, anyway, he would never be so foolish as to shoot a bear with a shotgun, "because then you'd just have a furious wounded bear."

The homeowner on County Road said when he called 911 that the Madison police dispatched Animal Control Officer Fran Fellows, and that she arrived in what seemed like minutes.

"The police were great," he said. "After she saw the video, she said 'that's unusual.'"

"This is not at all what I expected"

The homeowner said another officer arrived at the house shortly after Fellows. The call to the state DEEP was made by Madison animal control, Rego said.

The homeowner said Fellows told them that the town had received another report from someone who was putting their trash out, and "she stood up on her hind legs and growled."

"I'd hate to have her killed," he said. "This is not at all what I expected."

Editor's note: This story was edited Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012 to remove the names of the homeowners who reported the bear's aggressive behavior to the police.

michele mackenzie August 30, 2012 at 11:29 PM
I have read all these comments, including Pem, that have NO idea what they are talking about. My cousin is a wildliife rehabilitator and has dealt with this before. He has also been to Alaska and worked with the black bears. He said this bear relates people to FOOD..He is eating their garbage and knows he can get food from them. He said Madison is not even giving this bear a chance. They are NOT supposed to run away when they hear Humans---They only think FOOD. This is not opinion, this is Fact. He said "Why aren't they trying to trap this bear and relocate it"..In Alaska they use rubber I SAID RUBBER bullets to scare it and BEAR DOGS, and they have that here. ALSO, if you make LOUD noise or throw firecrackers NEAR the bears, they get AFRAID of humans.....Then they relate humans to FEAR NOT FOOD....These are FACTS..And people should know the facts and stop over-reacting!! Relocate this poor creature!!!
michele mackenzie August 30, 2012 at 11:37 PM
This is just an addition to my last letter because people will read my letter wrong. They don't think of the people AS food, they know they can get food from the people. It is hungry, and knows the garbage is by the People. I sent him the video and he said the bear was not charging or aggressive at all. It is not afraid of the people and wants food. When knocking on the window he said the bear went back to see if it was going to be fed...People=getting food. I am not going after anyone, I am giving you professional facts...Now lets unite and try to save this amazing animal.
Ellen August 31, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Ha, Anita! good one! Pem shouldn't even be in the mix here. She should remain neutral and eliminate foul language or threats instead of comments that SHE feels are inappropriate. Very bad journalism Pem. Very bad...
Ellen August 31, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Bad journalism Pem. Very bad. this isn't how it's supposed to work. We give OUR opinions, YOU are supposed to stay neutral. Bad form, Pem, whomsoever you may be!
Ellen August 31, 2012 at 01:54 AM
I AM interested in opinion, just NOT yours, Pem. You are supposed to mediate, NOT mandate! I hope you aren't being paid. if you are, you should be let go.
Pem McNerney (Editor) August 31, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Hi michele, if you read the article, you will see that relocating is being considered as an option by CT DEEP, after they reviewed the video. The wildlife experts with the state were the ones concerned that the bear might be a problem. What you're calling my opinion is also me reporting concern as expressed by the bear experts here in Connecticut, who are familiar with what is considered typical behavior by bears here. What should someone do if they encounter a bear who is not shy of humans (as the vast majority of bears in North Madison appear to be) and they don't have firecrackers nearby? Wait and see what happens when the bear pops in their window to see what's for dinner?
Pem McNerney (Editor) August 31, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Patch? Pay me? For a fun job like this? Yes, they do.
Matt August 31, 2012 at 10:42 AM
You're complaining that DEEP needs to relocate and retrain the bear. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY'RE DOING! Your entire rant indicates you didn't actually read the article. The whole thing was about why this behavior needs to be changed, and how they're going to trap, re-train, and relocate her. That is what DEEP is doing right now. Also, can you imagine what would happen if DEEP or anyone decided to shoot her with rubber bullets or throw firecrackers at her? There would be an uproar of epic proportions, protests, flaming pitchforks, and marches on town hall. Hundreds of people who don't know what they're talking about would go absolutely out of their minds screaming about how cruel it is. I personally think it is a great idea and totally harmless. But it would never fly publicly here. This isn't Alaska, it's yuppieville.
Anita Bath August 31, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Ellen, you must be Anita
michele mackenzie August 31, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Matt, I agree with you, Madison is Yuppieville.....I really wasnt ranting, I was giving some facts. And Pem, when a Bear hears a Human voice and is not afraid of Humans, NO they do not run away and are not Supposed to UNLESS they are afraid of humans. And Matt, I thought I did read all this stuff..It goes back and forth so much it is hard to figure out what the DEEP has for a plan. Relocation should be in the works and be DONE, not Considered! Just work on catching the bear. What if, what if, what if............I doubt if the bear will be knocking on too many windows in the future....Make loud noise, throw a Pan, blow a whistle....figure it out....
Anita Bath August 31, 2012 at 08:22 PM
So when a human sees/hears a bear, shouldn't they move away instead of drawing attention?
Anita Bath September 01, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Pem keeps deleting me comments. She says it violates the tos..i call it censorship
Matt September 01, 2012 at 02:03 AM
They've had traps set for at least two days now. They started that plan right away as soon as the situation got worse. There are a lot of people on posting alternate realities and making things up. Focus on the facts and the reports. Then take the comments for what they're worth. Sometimes they're very worthwhile. Sometimes, not so much. If someone were to throw a pan, the crazies would accuse them of animal cruelty and stage a PETA protest on their front lawn. If it were up to me, I would be on the roof firing rubber bullets with the DHHS marching band playing on the front lawn. She'd learn to enjoy being in the woods where she is safe and at home. But that would the root of all evil here. Better to let her chase people and put herself and others in harms way apparently....
Ellen September 01, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Pem, if that is your real name, why are you still voicing YOUR opinions in the opinion column? You wrote the article! Now will you shut up and let the poor unfortunates who have gotten caught up in YOUR hysterical headline (euthanize bear) voice THEIR opinions? If you need to censor a post that is inappropriate because of threats or bad language, fine! Do that! But PLEASE shut up about other people's opinions if they were posted. We aren't interested in YOUR opinion! This is a wonderful example of giving someone a bit of power and having it go to their heads! I really can't believe someone actually PAYS you!
Ellen September 01, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Actually, I would LOVE to call for her resignation! She doesn't like when readers "go after" each other but she thinks nothing of making snide remarks to the people who read The Patch. Very bad form.
Ellen September 01, 2012 at 04:47 AM
This is the opinion part, Pem. We don't need another one of your snide remarks. As far as information is concerned... after that headline, you wouldn't be the first one I would go to for factual information.
Ellen September 01, 2012 at 04:56 AM
You cut one of MY comments that had NOTHING to do with calling other people names. And I am NOT referring to the one where I called YOU a name, although I meant ot wholeheartedly.
Pem McNerney (Editor) September 01, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Another update ... As of Friday afternoon bear still had not been caught, Rego said.
Matt September 01, 2012 at 12:09 PM
She has as much right to express her opinion as you and I do. As long as she doesn't use her administrative authority to remove or block other's opinions that don't violate the rules, she is well within her right to participate. I vehemently disagree with her on some matters (like the airport for example). But she has just as much right to disagree with me too. Considering the slew of comments like yours, it would certainly appear she is allowing people to express their opinions whether they agree or not. In fact she's giving you a lot more leeway than she needs too. I have strong opinions about certain things that come up as news here frequently. I value that I'm allowed to express my opinion without being censored. But in valuing that, I realize that not everyone is going to agree, but they have just as much right to express their own opinion as well. It isn't Ellen.com or Matt.com or Pem.com. You, me, Pem, Anita, Paula, Hugh Jass, and everyone else has just as much right to express what we think. Disagreeing is perfectly fine. But telling someone not to express their thoughts because you disagree is wrong.
Valerie Leeds September 01, 2012 at 01:24 PM
This has become "let's trash Pem." I don't always agree with what she says either, but many of the comments she's allowing are so rude, I can only imagine what she's censoring! Headlines are supposed to be compelling. Pem was certainly effective in hooking all of us to read her article & comments. That's what good journalists do-generate readership! She is hardly the only one to write a sensationalist headline. (BTW, do you write your own headlines or does Patch have an editor who does it?) Her story clearly states that DEP would only kill the bear as a last resort-if nothing else works. Pem has voiced her opinion on many other Patch stories; why is this suddenly upsetting? She always posts those that disagree with her stance. I believe what she was trying to do with Anita & Paul's names was to imply that their opinions are so strikingly similar, that they seemed joined at the hip, a la Branjolina. As Vince said, if you want your fellow readers to take you seriously use your full name (Matt, that means you, too). Pem, have you asked our first selectman and police chief to respond to this situation? Their silence on this issue is blaring to me.
Ellen September 01, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Matt, it is NOT a matter of her disagreeing, she is the writer of the article, period. She is being paid to write the article and censor any foul or abusive language, period. Since when does a journalist, and I use the term loosely here, continue to argue with the people who write in to express their ideas about his column?! This is absurd! Not only does she continue to insert herself into the mix, but she is sarcastic and snide in her remarks! If you think that's fine and dandy, that is YOUR opinion, NOT MINE, and I think you're dead wrong in defending her when this, so called, writer refuses to distance herself from this opinion column.
Ellen September 01, 2012 at 01:43 PM
By the way, she HAS INDEED blocked other opnion's that have not violated the rules... mine, and given what I have read, a few other's as well.
Pem McNerney (Editor) September 01, 2012 at 01:50 PM
On my list of things to do today: 1. Go to the beach 2. Go to another beach 3. Not spend the whole day working I encourage all of you to do the same! It's nice out there. Go to the beach, take a hike in the woods (take an air horn), go to a fair ... you know? You are, of course, welcome to post comments as well. I will check back periodically through the weekend and send through those that conform with our terms of use and add something to the debate. Also, I will send through most of the ones that take issue with my handling of the story because, as much as I don't like some of them, sometimes they are thought provoking. I am thinking about the comments re the headline in particular. Comments that include name calling (towards me or anyone else) will not be sent through. Comments that distort facts or that don't conform to the TOU will not be sent through.
Pem McNerney (Editor) September 01, 2012 at 01:51 PM
"She is being paid to write the article and censor any foul or abusive language, period." I wish my job were that easy. Yes I get paid and I get paid to do a lot more than that.
Anita Bath September 01, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Why did mine violate tou?
Pem McNerney (Editor) September 01, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Good question. First Selectman Fillmore McPherson was until recently out of town serving as a delegate to the Republican National Convention. In his place, Selectman Joe MacDougald is acting first selectman. After reading the stories about Bear B-1 MacDougald conferred with Madison Police Chief Jack Drumm, who also has been keeping close tabs on this, along with Madison Animal Control Officer Fran Fellows. According to what I have been told, Fellows has been all over this. She's been keeping track of reports and, when a homeowner recently called in with a specific concern about the bear's behavior, she was there within minutes, and another police officer arrived soon after as back up. If I hear any more from Drumm, McPherson, or MacDougald, I will let you know, but, yes, town officials and the police department are responding to this situation and are working in conjunction with the state DEEP, which is taking the lead on effort to trap the bear and decide what to do with it. Let me know if that answers your question.
Matt September 01, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Because she IS allowed to express her opinion on Patch. This is not the New Haven Register (thank god) or other traditional news media outlet where the writer writes and then does nothing. All of Patch's reporters are active participants in the discussions. She has no obligation or requirement to walk away once she writes it, and she shouldn't. In fact I'm pretty sure they are encouraged to participate by Patch. If you want hands-off traditional journalism, pick up a newspaper or load up WTNH. That just isn't how Patch operates, it isn't just Pem. They're a totally different style of journalism combined with the blogging and discussions. So if you think she isn't allowed to state her thoughts, neither are you. Neither am I. Neither is anyone. Comments closed. You can't have it both ways on here. I am not explicitly defending Pem. I'm defending her right to express her opinion.
michele mackenzie September 01, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I agree...great day...for the beach, a fair, a hike, a book....anything...Why anytime people join in one of these discussions does it ALWAYS turn into a fighting match. My only concern is that the bear is hopefully caught and relocated...
Pem McNerney (Editor) September 01, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Ditto that ... Here are some ideas for things to do in town and out ... http://madison-ct.patch.com/articles/what-are-you-doing-for-fun-this-weekend-we-want-to-see
Pem McNerney (Editor) September 03, 2012 at 02:07 AM
From the homeowner who reported the bear's aggressive behavior: " ... NOBODY in our neighborhood wants this bear around. She is clearly dangerous and has caused all manner of property damage. I was not feeding her, she was not eating, and I was not teasing her. I would never do that. I did nothing to attract her to my yard. I live in the woods because I love the outdoors and all animals. However, that does not mean we can ignore dangerous animals - that's just stupid and irresponsible. ... If you see this particular bear in your yard, and go outside, you are a fool."


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