Bears target Colorado hot-dog stand’s Dumpsters |

Bears target Colorado hot-dog stand’s Dumpsters

Mike McPhee
The Denver Post
(XX)101309_BEARS_CFW- Giovanni and Fairfax Donovan, of Santa Rosa, CA, share a laugh as the recall a friends encounter with a bear. The Donovan's are visiting family in Bailey, CO, and stopped for lunch at the Coney Island Hot Dog Restaurant, where bears have been getting into the dumpster. (Craig F. Walker / The Denver Post)

As Colorado’s black bears start readying themselves for a long winter’s nap, they turn ravenously hungry and consume somewhere north of 20,000 calories a day before settling in.

For the bears around Bailey, 40 miles southwest of Denver, the choice of wild berries and tree bark or a trip to the trash bin behind the Coney Island hot-dog stand – where they can gorge on bags full of half-eaten hot dogs, hamburgers and ice-cream cones – is apparently a no-brainer.

“I’ve never seen anything like this. They’ve trashed our Dumpster like 30 times in the past two months,” said manager Katharine DeLoach, who has worked at the hot-dog-shaped restaurant for nearly eight years, both in Bailey and when it was in Aspen Park.

“We strap down the Dumpster lid at night so they can’t lift it up,” she said. “But the bears have learned if they climb on top, they’re heavy enough to crush the plastic lid and fall through.”

The Colorado Department of Wildlife has done what it can to help the restaurant, including providing its owners with rubber buckshot and installing pepper-spray booby traps. Neither hazing device worked. Indeed, the pepper-spray contraptions have been triggered so often that their canisters are empty.

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