3 bear cubs rescued after mother bear put down in West Milford

Jeff Smith reports from West Milford, NJ where a trio of bear cubs were rescued after their mom was put down. (WABC)
May 13, 2014 4:00:36 PM PDT
There's a happy ending to a sad story about a trio of bear cubs that lost their mom.

The mother bear had to be put down after breaking into a home in New Jersey.

Sunday was anything but a typical day for Donna DiMino. On aptly named Bearfort Road in the woods of West Milford, New Jersey, she received an unannounced visitor.

"A bear entered my home through the screen door, and I was visiting with neighbors and came home, opened the front door and the garbage was scattered throughout the house," said DiMino.

West Milford Police responded in a way that they say was necessary given the circumstances.

"This was a Category 1 bear that entered a home, caused property damage, and the bear was put down," said Captain Richard Fiorilla of the West Milford Police Department.

The ordeal wasn't even close to being over. Two bear cubs were still hanging onto to their mother and another had climbed 50 feet up a nearby tree.

To the rescue was Kyle Maloney, of Maloney & Son Tree Service.

"As I got up on the bucket truck, he was sitting all the way out on the furthest limb. Once I got up there, the bear kept scooting up the tree and running away from me, so I used a net that they gave me, put it over the bear and as I pulled it off the limb I turned the net and he fell right in it," said Maloney.

The New Jersey division of Fish and Wildlife was guiding him along the way. "They did a great job of telling me what to expect. They said it was 6 to 8 pounds, but big enough to ruin your day," Maloney said.

To the fanfare of onlookers, Kyle brought the bear cub down safely. For Donna, the homeowner, it was a bittersweet ending.

"They did rescue the three cubs. Unfortunately they had to bring down the mom," she said.

According to the New Jersey department of Environmental Protection, the cubs will stay with rehabilitators until they are strong enough to be alone in the woods.