Bear killed after it attacks homeowner |

Bear killed after it attacks homeowner

John Colson
Vail, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS ” A Snowmass man suffered minor injuries Thursday morning when he was attacked by a bear in his garage on East Sopris Creek Road, prompting authorities to kill the bear, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

The injured man, 71-year old John Clark, did not require hospitalization, but was at a doctor’s office receiving treatment on Thursday.

Clark reportedly went into his garage around 7 a.m. Thursday to check on his two Labrador retrievers, which live in the garage.

The dogs had been making noise since around 5 a.m., said Suzanne Clark, John’s wife, and her husband had gone out earlier to see what was the matter but could not locate the dogs.

But around 7 a.m., Suzanne Clark said, her husband encountered the bear, which had gotten in through a door, apparently to get to the dog’s food bowls. Despite Clark’s efforts to scare the bear away, it would not leave, Suzanne Clark said.

“The bear slashed through the back of his jacket,” she said, noting that it was a particularly heavy jacket, which likely prevented the bear’s claws from doing greater damage.

The bear latched its jaws on John Clark’s arm at one point, and “he actually punched the bear,” she said.

Also, she said, the bear lacerated the backs of her husband’s legs before he was able to get away. He ran back into the house and called 911.

Pitkin County deputy sheriffs and Kevin Wright, district wildlife manager of the Division of Wildlife, arrived at the Clarks’ home shortly after 7 a.m. The bear “behaved aggressively toward officers, and the bear was shot and killed,” the Division of Wildlife said.

Agency spokesman Randy Hampton said the bear charged Wright, but he was not harmed. The dogs also were not harmed, Hampton said.

The bear was a mature male, weighing approximately 350 pounds, and was believed to be on the older side due to the wear patterns of its teeth.

Noting that there have been other incidents of bear intrusions in the neighborhood, Hapmton said, “This could be the same bear,” but added that it is impossible to know for sure.

Suzanne Clark said she was saddened by the incident, but thankful that her husband had worn a thick jacket and that neither she nor one of their grandchildren had been the ones checking on the dogs that morning.

“I feel very sad that any animal has to be destroyed,” she said. “Maybe we’re all a little more casual than we need to be” about bears.

The two most recent fatalaties from bear attacks, Hampton said, were in Fremont County in 1993 and Grand County in 1971.

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