HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – Wildlife officials are warning residents that a bear that has been roaming the Bennett Circle area of Horseheads could pose a threat to humans. The Department of Environmental Conservation says it ticketed a homeowner for intentionally feeding the bear. Officials say the bear will be euthanized after its caught. Here is the full DEC statement obtained by 18 News reporter Nicolas Dubina:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officers and wildlife conservation experts are responding to a black bear exhibiting behaviors dangerous to humans after being intentionally fed and attracted to a residential area in the town of Horseheads, New York by a local resident.  The individual was ticketed by Environmental Conservation Officers for attracting the bear by intentionally feeding it.  Because of these reckless actions by the individual, the bear has entered a home in the neighborhood is now exhibiting a behavior that is clearly dangerous toward humans.

DEC reminds all New Yorkers to never feed bears and follow the important steps to keep humans and bears safe outlined in the Reducing Human-Bear Conflicts – NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

DEC carefully evaluates every scenario on a case by case basis to determine the severity of the situation and the steps necessary to protect public and wildlife health. Based on the actions of the individual, and the dangerous behaviors now being exhibited by this bear, unfortunately a determination has been made to euthanize the bear to protect public safety after a thorough evaluation of the situation and wildlife management protocols.  Euthanizing a bear is always a last resort and DEC exhausts all possible options before making a determination that a bear is a threat to public safety.

In a separate statement, wildlife officials told 18 News “We will trap the bear when conditions allow.”

About a five-minute drive from the bear sighting in the Bennett Circle area, neighbors say they’ve also spotted bears near Harvard Road and Biltmore Drive.

“It’s fairly new to all of us I think, because we’ve never really seen bears come out in the dead of winter before like this, this often. Hitting garbage cans, they’ve hit our dumpsters, all kinds of stuff,” said resident Paul Fesetch. “The worry is not just the adults but it’s the kids and the pets, and the elderly.”

It’s unclear if this is the same bear that’s roaming the area of Bennett Circle.

A woman who did not want to be identified described a frightening encounter she had with the animal. “I had taken my dogs out back in my face yard. I looked over and about 50 feet away, he’s standing in my neighbor’s driveway and scared me like crazy. I was yelling for my dogs to get back in the house. He did not charge. He stood there and watched us. So I was grateful for that. But I will not go outside after dark at all.”

“I would like to see him moved out of neighborhood and relocated somewhere safely because there’s too many people that walk. They walk their dogs in the evenings and such. Knowing that he’s out there is just kind of scary. I know they say bears are more afraid of us than we are of them, but you know, who wants to take that chance.

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