Black bear euthanized after injuring woman protecting her dog

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) this morning tranquilized and later euthanized a black bear that had chased a dog and attempted to follow it into a West Hartford home, according to a press release from Dwayne Gardner, spokesman for the DEEP. 

The dog’s owner was injured while trying to get the dog safely into the house.  The bear, an approximately 200-pound female, had entered the yard with her two yearling (greater than one-year old) cubs.  The yearlings were also tranquilized and will be released into an appropriate wooded area, Gardner said.

Background on Incident

This morning at approximately 7:30 a.m., a West Harford woman (Sharon Flannery) reported that a black bear had attempted to attack her small terrier-type dog in the family’s back yard at 49 Avondale Road and continued to chase the dog as it ran toward the house. 

Flannery said that as she was trying to protect her dog from the bear and get it into her home, she received a puncture wound and several scratches from the bear on her lower right leg.  The bear and the cubs then fled the yard and ran up a tree in an adjacent yard.  Flannery dialed 911 to report the incident and was later treated and released for her wounds at a local medical facility.

DEEP’s Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police, wildlife biologists from the agency, and West Hartford Police responded and located the bears.  The bears were tranquilized and taken to DEEP’s Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area where the sow was euthanized and as a precaution (rabies is not prevalent in black bears), tested for rabies. 

The yearlings were evaluated and deemed to be old enough to survive on their own and will be released into another area.  All three bears had previously been tagged by DEEP’s Wildlife Division.

Information on Black Bears

Black bears are rarely aggressive toward humans and attacks are exceedingly rare.  Black bears are generally shy and avoid contact with people.  However, if they regularly find food near houses, they can lose their fear of humans and become a problem.

In the rare instance when a bear appears to exhibit aggressive behavior, residents should contact the DEEP Wildlife Division’s Sessions Woods office at 860-675-8130 (Mon.-Fri. from 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m.) or the DEEP’s 24-hour dispatch line (860-424-3333) during weekends and non-business hours, Gardner said.

Bear sightings reported by the public provide valuable information to assist the DEEP Wildlife Division in monitoring the black bear population.  Anyone who observes a black bear in Connecticut is encouraged to report the sighting on the DEEP’s website or to call the Wildlife Division’s Sessions Woods office. 



Anne Amato