Bear encounters end badly

by Tom Goldsmith | July 6, 2018

bear encounters
Photo: © Vvvita |

Two separate bear attacks within the same week in late April by a female bear with three cubs prompted the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) to issue warnings regarding potential encounters. The attacks took place close to each other, causing police to speculate the same bear might be involved in both attacks.

“There is significant data to show dog/bear encounters often end badly for dogs and owners alike, due to the fact that dogs often lead bears back to their owners in a confrontation.”

— Jolanta Kowalski, MNRF

The first incident occurred on April 23 when a woman walking her dog just after noon found herself situated between a female black bear and her three cubs. Police say the woman’s German shepherd, which was not on a leash, engaged the adult bear and received serious injuries. The woman, though shaken, escaped unhurt.

In the second incident on April 27, a woman was attacked by a female bear with three cubs while walking her dog at around 11 p.m. Police reports say the woman received several puncture wounds to her back and cuts to her head, which required emergency medical attention at a Sault area hospital. Her dog was also injured. Fortunately, her family heard her calls and came to her aid, scaring off the bear.

When contacted for a comment, MNRF Senior Media Relations Officer Jolanta Kowalski referred to the province’s Bear Wise program and its warning to keep dogs on a leash and under control when afield.

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