DENNISON (WJER) (June 30, 2022) – A black bear has been spotted wandering around the Dennison area.
Susan Burdette says she encountered the bear Wednesday evening while taking her dog out on Third Street Extension on the north end of Dennison near Deer Hill.
“I caught something out of the corner of my eye, and there was a black bear standing there,” she said. “It walked a couple steps toward me, and then it stopped and froze when it saw me. I hurried up and got my dog back in the garage. Of course, I didn’t have my cell phone, so I started screaming for my husband, and the bear took off down the road.”
She says it was scary.
“I was more worried for the dog because I though the dog was going to try to protect me. I was glad to get him away before anything got out of control there,” she said. “[The bear] didn’t tear up all the trash either, so thank goodness for that because that would have been a heck of a mess. I’m sure he was just foraging. He was probably hungry; hungry and hot.”
Dennison Police Chief Todd Beeman says police responded to make sure the bear wasn’t acting aggressively. He says residents can help by keeping their garbage enclosed.
“Loose trash, food and stuff like that,” he said. “If they happen to see it, leave it alone, and it should move out of the area. [The Ohio Division of] Wildlife is already aware of it, so if it becomes an issue or a nuisance, they’ll come down here and try to get it out of the area.”
Security cameras later caught a bear on video behind the Claymont Intermediate School. A Bowerston resident reported seeing a black bear last week.
Officials say bears will leave you alone if you leave them alone
Beeman says black bear reports are new for Dennison, but he’s familiar with them from his time living in Oregon.
“Typically, bears don’t like humans, so they’re going to do what they can to avoid them,” he said. “As long as you’re not sitting there trying to approach it or feed it, it will move on its way.”
The ODNR says if you encounter a black bear, remain calm, back away slowly without making eye contact, and give the bear room to escape. Officials say they don’t attack pets or children unless they’re cornered.
Wildlife officials say the black bear population is increasing in Ohio after they practically disappeared because of unregulated hunting and habitat destruction. Male black bears wander into Ohio from Pennsylvania and West Virginia looking for a place to settle for the winter. Officials say they often go back to where they came from.
Black bears are considered an endangered species in Ohio, so it’s illegal to hunt or hurt them.