WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – A family in Connecticut got quite a scare after a bear broke into their house and helped itself to some treats over the weekend.
“I wasn’t scared. I was just mad,” said Bill Priest, the West Hartford homeowner. “I don’t know why I was mad, I was just really mad he was there.”
The bear had first entered Priest’s garage on July 25, opening a refrigerator and emptying its contents across the floor, Priest said. On that occasion, an animal control officer told the homeowners to contact Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and to keep the house’s main doors closed for the next week.
On Sunday afternoon, the bear returned, coming face-to-face with Priest inside his home.
“He was on the floor chowing down after finding things on the counter,” said Priest, who told WFXR’s sister station, WTNH, that he had just finished working in the yard when he found the bear eating sweets in the kitchen.
Priest also filmed himself yelling at the bear, telling it to “get out of here.”
“Go on! Go! Take off, bud!” Priest can be heard yelling as the bear meanders out of the front door.
In the same video, after Priest successfully shoos the bear from the front door, he heads to the garage to find the bear waiting by his open garage door.
“Go on! Time to leave!” he yells.
“I had to get a little more aggressive … I could have yelled at him all day, and we would have just, both just stood there,” Priest told WTNH.
This same bear paid the family a visit once again on Monday morning, trying to get in through the front but only managing to damage the screen door.
DEEP has since set up a bear trap next to Priest’s home, using a box of stale doughnuts as bait. If successful, DEEP will return to tranquilize the bear and work to condition the animal against returning to Priest’s residence.
DEEP’s guidelines also note that Priest did the right thing in this particular situation by raising his voice.
“If you see a bear on your property you can either leave the bear alone and wait for it to leave or make loud noises from a safe distance to attempt to scare the bear away,” Connecticut’s DEEP writes of black bears. “After the bear leaves the property, remove anything that may have attracted it to the area.”
There have been more than 7,000 bear sightings across Connecticut since the beginning of the year, according to DEEP. The department’s official site has more information on how to avoid attracting bears, as well as tips for staying safe during bear encounters.