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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Wildlife officials kill black bear in Five Mile area

A black bear that had been causing problems for three weeks in backyards and garbage bins in the Five Mile area was killed by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers on Monday.

The young bear was removed with the help of trackers with hounds at about 7 a.m., after a six-hour pursuit through the night.

It was the third attempt in a week to capture or haze the animal out of the area, said responding officer Mike Sprecher.

The bear was killed above the Spokane Fish Hatchery and not far from St. George’s School, he said.

“It had been causing a lot of problems for quite a while and we’ve been trying to catch it or chase it away since about April 10,” said Capt. Dan Rahn, the department’s head enforcement official in Spokane.

The bear had evaded baited live traps and would not go up a tree when tracked by hounds, eliminating the option of tranquilizing and relocating the animal.

“We were running out of options,” Rahn said.

Sprecher responded to an 11 p.m. call on Saturday from a woman who said the bear had returned to her patio twice and was bothering her cooped chickens.

“We had received calls almost daily from different neighborhoods since April 10,” Sprecher said. “We pursued the bear with dogs several times hoping it would push out of the area, but it had become habituated.

“We tried to educate people up there who were feeding deer and leaving garbage and pet food out that these are practices that lure bears into neighborhoods and keep them from leaving.”

Trackers with hounds were called at 1 a.m. Monday after Sprecher received another homeowner complaint.

“The bear’s behavior had not changed; it was not afraid of humans and took some swipes and slightly injured two dogs,” Sprecher said. “I made the call that night that this bear wasn’t going to change.”

Safety to the public is a key factor in when, where and how wildlife officers ultimately deal with a large, potentially dangerous problem animal, whether a bear or moose, he said.

“We had an opportunity to euthanize it, so we took it,” Rahn said.

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