Bears Kill Finnsheep in PA
Threat to Humans and Livestock
The PA Game Commission came and set bear traps (live traps) and caught one of the bears that attacked the pigs. Four nights after the first kill, the bear returned and, ignoring the trap, killed the sheep chasing it down in an open field and carrying its body away over a 4' fence.
Less than a week later, at around 6:30PM, a fellow noticed that his children's pet rabbits' cage was knocked over - - he supposed by the wind - - and went out to investigate. He was three feet from the bear before he saw it in the dark. The bear killed all but one of a litter of 8 baby rabbits and injured their mother and two others are still missing. It's lucky his children didn't go out to investigate what happened.
All three attacks had one thing in common. The bears had no fear of humans and wouldn't leave. It is very common in the Poconos for people to feed bears. There is someone allegedly feeding 9 bears about a mile from The Hatton farm where the sheep and goat were killed. Some people bring up expired bakery goods to feed to the bears.
Countless homes in the Poconos have been broken into by hungry bears that have come to associate people and their homes with food. There have been four documented black bear attacks on humans in the area this summer alone. A bear was destroyed in Hemlock Farms - - a 5,000 acre development in Pike County - -because it had attacked several people walking their dogs.
Locally a friend's son awoke to hear a rucus downstairs from where he, his wife and infant son were sleeping. There was a mother bear and her cubs in his house. He shot them to defend himself and his family.
Pike County, PA, where the Hattons live is one of the three fastest growing counties in the state. The human population has tripled in recent years. While some of the homes there are getaway destinations for folks who live and work in NYC or New Jersey, there are many year-round residents who commute to NYC to work. There needs to be a system of fines in place to discourage people from feeding bears. There is apparently a law prohibiting folks from feeding elk.
The PA Game Commission is managing the bear population (est. 500 bears) in Pike County at "saturation" levels so that Pike County will effectively be a bear farm. The surplus bears that are generated move on to the Catskills, the Lehigh Valley (PA) and points west because there is neither food nor adequate territory here. While this policy may have been wise a decade or two ago, it no longer makes sense to allow more bears in Pike County than the food or the area will adequately support.
It is only a matter of time before a human is killed. People need to know how dangerous it is to feed the bears. There are stories a woman letting her children throw rocks at a bear. She thought she and her children could outrun the bear if it became annoyed. Sheep couldn't outrun the bear - - although the Game Commission official said it would be safe in the field where the bear killed it.
Grace is writing letters to PA officials and circulating a petition to outlaw feeding bears.