A Bloomfield family is grieving after their dog was killed by a black bear early Monday morning.
Gerry Hodgkiss was faced with devastation overnight into Monday morning when his wife’s beloved husky named Shelby was killed by a bear around 1:30 a.m.
“Just really bad timing. I mean we knew the bears were around here, but at 1:30 at night who would figure that there’d be a bear” said Hodgkiss.
He says the attack happened in the couple’s yard, just feet from their home, where his wife had gone inside just moments earlier to get her purse, before coming back outside.
She was going to take the dog with her in the car to pick up her daughter.
But when she came back outside she found the dog in the grass badly injured.
“It happened like that. She came back out, the dog was on the ground, broken neck, tongue where it couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t get her air to her, threw her in the truck, took her doctor and she died on the way,” said Hodgkiss.
Several neighbors said bear sightings are regular in the area.
“To actually have it be fatal is just very scary. This is the wild. It’s Bloomfield, but it’s the wild out this way. They must be devastated because for a lot of people that have dogs, the dogs are like their kids,” one neighbor told Fox CT.
Bloomfield is not the only town seeing bears lately.
A dramatic video was captured over the weekend west of I-84 in Burlington, where a bear was seen maneuvering around a backyard playground set.
East Haddam Police also report multiple sightings the past few days.
Back in Bloomfield, though, other neighbors said they’re especially careful to keep their dogs safe.
“Always on a leash and then we have our yard fenced in and we always go outside with them when they’re out in the yard,” said one area dog owner.
Dennis Schain, spokesman for the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, says they can’t respond to every bear sighting.
“You just can’t relocate every bear that’s seen in a neighborhood. If they’re present for many days, if they appear to be exhibiting what we call aggressive behavior, not scampering back into the woods, yes we do go out. It’s a fact of life in Connecticut that there’s bears around. We need to live with them. People should make sure to take down their bird feeders, clean up their barbecue grills, keep their garbage stowed away carefully,” said Schain.
Meanwhile, Gerry and his wife remain devastated, but that doesn’t mean he’s out for revenge.
“Hopefully, they don’t hurt the bear. I don’t want to get the bear hurt or anything. I just want to be safe, you know, for the kids. My wife has kids here all the time,” said Hodgkiss.
Bloomfield Police say they responded to the scene and spoke with neighbors who said they had seen a mother bear with cubs in recent days, but no call had been made reporting those sightings.
Police advise residents to remove bird feeders, place garbage in a locked area, use exterior lighting, keep dogs leashed, keep pet food indoors and to make noise when exiting the home.