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Video: La Canada Resident Still Riled from Bear Attack

Wendy Blair repaired the ripped wire, and keeps the remaining hens confined to a locked part of the coop at night, since a bear ate several of her birds.

Editor's note: On Saturday we linked to a Pasadena Star News article about a chicken-killing bear in Altadena: it appears the bear was actually in La Cañada Flintridge.  La Cañada Flintridge Patch Editor Donna Evans filed this report.

When the squawking startled her awake, La Cañada Flintridge resident Wendy Blair expected to see raccoons digging into her chicken coop again.

Instead, she saw a hulking California black bear and a lot of chicken feathers.

"It was horrifying. My children are still frightened,'' she said Monday, three days after a bear wandered onto her property in the 1700 block of Bonita Vista Drive and ate four of her nine chickens. The bear ripped the wire off the coop, snatched the birds and left remnants of their carcasses strewn about her back yard.

Blair's five children, mother and dog were safely asleep in the house during the 2:30 a.m. incident. The shrieking chickens awoke the family and prompted Blair to investigate. And when she saw a large, furry arm, it just didn't register, she said.

Blair called 911, but by the time deputies from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's arrived, the bear had lumbered off. Lt. Angela Shepherd said Monday while authorities responded to Blair's 911 call, they did not see a bear on the property. She added that it is not unusual for bears to wander into yards at the base of the mountain.

Andrew Hughan, public information officer for California Department of Fish and Game said a warden for the department verified a bear was involved, based on tracks in the dirt and the deceased chickens, but it is not the agency's policy to search for the bear, he said. Unless the bear is harming a human, there's nothing Fish and Game can do, he said.

This left Blair feeling helpless - especially when the bear came back.

"I banged my pots and pans and the bear took off, but I keep thinking it'll come back again,'' she said, noting she's not slept very well since the incident.

For now, the remaining hens are secured at nighttime - during the day they roam the sizable back yard - in the plywood and wire coop. Blair considers the hens pets, and said her children play with them. Even her Boxer, Bruiser, runs around with the chickens.

According to Blair, her neighbor, John Peterson, last spotted the bear about 6:30 a.m. Thursday, as he left his home en route to the gym. He took pictures of a large  bear on a nearby lawn - a picture she first spotted on another neighbor's Facebook page. So for all that's negative about the situation, she said, one positive is she's gotten to meet more of her neighbors. 

Another negative was that Blair's husband was out of town when the bear attack happened. Fortunately, though, her mother, Marilyn Salinas, was visiting from Phoenix, so the two comforted Blair's children, ages 19 months to 12 years.

"I'm glad I was here. But I'm ready to go home,'' Salinas said Monday.

Lori Paul April 27, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Bears are native residents of the San Gabriel Mountain foothills and once roamed Crescenta Valley until it was built out. This incident highlights the need for all residents in the vicinity of the Angeles Forest and natural habitat to protect their small livestock, cats and dogs from local predators. Black bears are opportunistic in their diet. They forage for berries & ripe fruits, tear open logs to eat insects, scavenge road kills, fish for trout in shallow streams, enjoy honey from bee hives... and will kill birds, rabbits and other animals as opportunity presents. So will mountain lions, bobcats, grey foxes, coyotes and raccoons. That black bear was not after people or even the family dog, it saw the chickens as easily cornered lunch. This sad event is a reminder to provide companion animals with sturdy, mountain lion and bear-proof shelter, particularly at night. We live in bear & cougar country. The beauty of wildlife, chaparral and Forest are why we enjoy living here; however, that comes with responsibility for keeping pets safe and wildlife wild. Instructions for building coyote, bear & cougar-proof animal enclosures are available on the Internet. Also, discourage wildlife incursions by securing garbage cans and don't leave bowls of pet food outside... or BBQ meat unattended on a grill. Wildlife & people can coexist.

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