A Connecticut man shot and killed a mother bear to protect his dog. He is now facing charges for the illegal taking of a black bear.
The man, William O’Connor, 26, received a summons last week, the Connecticut Post reported. Authorities arrested him for shooting the black bear near the property line of his residence in Thomaston.
“The dog started barking and the mother bear treed her two cubs,” said Will Healey, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, according to the New York Post. “The bear stood her ground and started making loud noises, believing her cubs were threatened.”
O’Connor then used a .22-caliber long rifle to open fire toward the bear, hitting her in the process. The bear ran about 30 yards away from O’Connor’s property before she collapsed. The Republican-American reported that the bear died of a liver wound.
Connecticut officials said the two cubs are strong enough to survive on their own. They added that bears spend the autumn out and about. They’re eating more food to build up their fat reserves and help them survive the winter.
It is against the law to shoot bears in Connecticut unless they pose a threat to human safety or farmers’ livestock, according to the Republican-American.
The population of bears in Connecticut is on the rise. The state has considered proposals to allow a hunting season for bears, but animal rights groups have so far shot them down.
If left alone, officials said the black bear population in the state could grow to 3,000, since bears have no natural predators, the New York Post reported.
By September, bears had invaded 42 homes in Connecticut, more than double the total for last year.