CT man facing charges for killing bear to protect his dog

CT man facing charges for killing bear to protect his dog
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A Connecticut man is facing charges for fatally shooting a bear to protect his pooch, state officials said.

William O’Connor, 26, was issued a summons Tuesday after gunning down the female black bear when his dog ran toward the animal and her cubs near the property line of his residence in Thomaston, the Connecticut Post reports.

“The dog started barking and the mother bear treed her two cubs,” said Will Healey, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “The bear stood her ground and started making loud noises, believing her cubs were threatened.”

That prompted O’Connor to grab a .22-caliber long rifle and open fire in the bear’s direction, Healey said.

The gunfire hit the bear, which scurried away about 30 yards onto another property before collapsing, Healey said.

A necropsy found the bear died from a liver wound, the Republican American reports.

O’Connor was issued a summons for illegal taking of a black bear, which is punishable by fines up to $500 and a maximum of 30 days in jail, the Hartford Courant reports.

State officials estimate there are about 800 black bears roaming throughout Connecticut, where lawmakers have debated how to control the growing population, including whether or not bear hunts should be allowed in Litchfield County to reduce the numbers, the newspaper reports.

If unchecked, state officials have said that population could ultimately surge to 3,000 since black bears have no natural predators.

Black bears have entered a record 42 Connecticut homes this year, doubling the mark of 21 from two years ago and up from just 7 in 2015, the Courant reports.

The animals are especially active during the fall, Healey said.

“Bears are out and about stocking up on fuel for winter hibernation,” he told the Connecticut Post.

O’Connor’s dog, meanwhile, was not hurt and the bear’s two young cubs appeared healthy enough to survive on their own, officials said.

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