Dog mauled by bear in West Milford

September 10, 2009 4:02:51 PM PDT
Maggie the golden retriever was mauled, but lived. The chow, Angie, nipped and chased.

Chico, the Jack Russell, didn't survive his encounter with one of the many bears sharing the woods in West Milford.

"His entire side was opened. I'm not sure if it used its claws or if it bit him or what happened," said Irene Sanchez-Bang.

The high school senior showed us how she pulled into her driveway and was herself chased by the bear moments after her beloved terrier was attacked just outside the garage door.

"He came over and knocked over this (wood) pile I guess as he ran after me," she said.

Resident Marianne Lindstrom has videotaped the bears, which crisscross her yard almost daily. She also keeps a log of the number of times she has called in sightings. The dog cats and kids now stay inside most of the time.

"We need a bear hunt. West Milford just has too many bears," she said.

A few years ago, animal rights activists succeeded in stopping the seasonal bear hunt. Now, lifelong residents say they have never seen the bear population explode like this.

Residents who are chased should report it, says Fish and Wildlife Commission spokesperson Darlene Yuhas.

New Jersey's non-lethal bear management strategy includes a policy for dealing with the most aggressive bears.

"We do trap and euthanize bears which damage property," she said.

She emphasized bears inhabited the territory hundreds of years before people. These days the residents feel outnumbered and intimidated.

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