Bear spotted in Visalia has been killed

June 21, 2013 12:00:27 AM PDT
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says the search for a black bear spotted north of Visalia is over.

Officials say they were forced to kill the bear, even though they initially intended to trap and release it.

News of a 150 pound black bear on the loose just north of Riggin and Demaree in Visalia sent panic into the quiet neighborhood.

The department of fish and wildlife says the bear is the same one spotted, trapped and then released near Bakersfield last month.

Norma Fuleio and her 16-year-old dog "Angel" stayed indoors as long as they could, afraid of having an encounter with the cub.

Fuleio explained, "Last night my little dog had to go out at 1:00 in the morning and I was freaked out to go outside but I did and it was giving me the creeps."

A fish and wildlife spokesperson says the bear had been in the Visalia area for five days, spending time in this thick cornfield and other nearby orchards.

The department of fish and wildlife says it was forced to kill the bear at around 10:30 Wednesday night after it started to act violent.

Janice Mackey with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said, "We first attempted obviously we were tracking him on the ground with aerial support we engaged some dogs and the dogs were able to find him when the dogs found him he started acted aggressively."

Resident Larry Smither said, "My wife she's going to be sad she was hoping they could tranquilize it."

The department of fish and wildlife says the bear is originally from the foothills near Bakersfield. After it was trapped and released into the wild in Kern County -- it traveled more than 80 miles to get to the Visalia area.

People who live in the quiet, rural area were shocked by the unusual bear sighting.

Smither explained, "It was a big surprise but we had heard a few years ago one went down the river and got killed father along road 80."

Many wonder why the bear couldn't tranquilized and then captured and released... fish and wildlife officials say tranquilizing a bear can take up to 15 minutes and the bear was acting too aggressive and was threatening people's safety.


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