1 dog killed, 1 injured in separate bear attacks in Sparta, New Jersey

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, May 16, 2024
1 dog killed, 1 injured in separate bear attacks in Sparta
Anthony Johnson is live in Sparta, NJ with details on a bear attack that left a dog dead.

SPARTA, New Jersey (WABC) -- Police in New Jersey are warning pet owners after two dogs were attacked in Sparta, one of them fatally.

The attacks happened within a mile of each other last Thursday and again on Monday of this week.

The most recent attack resulted in the death of a dog named Rocco.

After he was attacked, he needed over 100 stitches and had a $6,000 vet bill, but died four days after the encounter.

Sparta Township Police and officials from NJ Fish and Wildlife are investigating the attacks. They say in both incidents a mother bear was with her cub.

Residents near West Mountain Road are advised to use caution when outdoors and to take precautions to avoid bear encounters.

Officials say you should secure your garbage cans and don't leave out food sources that could attract wildlife.

"It's best to store it in your garage and if you do keep the garage door closed," said Chief Jeffrey McCarrick, Sparta Police Department.

You can use an airhorn to scare a bear away. And remember, bears have an extremely keen sense of smell.

"They are actively searching for food as they leave dens. The risk of an unwanted encounter rises if they associate you or your property with food," NJDEP Fish & Wildlife Assistant Commissioner David Golden said. "It is also critically important for people to never feed black bears. Feeding bears is dangerous, illegal and may result in bears becoming aggressive."

The DEP even has a program to provide residents living in bear country with special bear resistant garbage cans.

Authorities are trying to trap the bear involved in the attacks and move it further away from populated areas.

Anyone witnessing an aggressive bear or encountering aggressive wildlife is urged to contact the Sparta Township Police Department immediately at 973-729-6121 to report the incident.

ALSO READ | Wandering bear prompts New Jersey school district to cancel outdoor activities

Michelle Charlesworth has the story in South Orange on the bear sighting.

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