Goats Killed by Bear in Killingworth

The homeowner shot the bear after it attacked his livestock, but it was too late for the family's goats.

A Killingworth family is mourning the deaths of two of their pet goats after a bear attacked and killed the livestock.

Cathy was the owner of 5-year-old goats, Chole and Zoey.

On Sunday morning, Cathy and her husband were on their deck enjoying their morning coffee in what started off as a typical weekend day for the pair.

Cathy’s husband, Rob, decided to cut wood near the family’s storage house while Cathy went back inside.

Suddenly, Cathy heard an irregular scream coming from one of her goats and took a glance outside.

She noticed that there was a black object in her goat’s pin and realized that it was a black bear.

“I started screaming ‘There’s a bear attacking the goats, there’s a bear in the pin, in the goat house’,” said Cathy. “I was just standing there crying hysterically and shaking because I felt helpless.”

Cathy’s son heard her screams and ran downstairs to find out what was happening.

“I told my son what was happening and telling him to go find Rob,” said Cathy.

Cathy’s son and husband began making their way to the pin and noticed the bear was inside.

“My husband saw the bear and went inside to get his hunter’s rifle to scare the bear away,” said Cathy. “By the time he came back the bear was gone.”

The Killingworth family called Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection after realizing that the bear had a green tag.

According to DEEP’s website: “Ear tag color indicates the year the bear was tagged. For example, a bear with green tags was handled in 2019, and one with orange tags was handled in 2018, regardless of age, gender, or reason for tagging.”

DEEP officers arrived on scene and began searching for the bear in the deep section of Cathy’s backyard.

Meanwhile, Cathy and her family went to check the condition of their goats. Zoey didn’t make it, but Chole was still alive.

“We rushed over to Chole and we tried to console her and try to get her down on the ground to assess what was going on,” said Cathy. “We called our vet to come and help Chole because we didn’t know if she would make it.”

Chole suffered severe injuries including a broken neck, shoulder and multiple ribs. She did not survive.

DEEP officers searched the woods but didn’t find any traces of the bear. They told Cathy and her family that they have the right to shoot the bear if it attacks their livestock or them.

Three hours later, the bear returned and went back into the pen.

“My husband sees the bear climb up the tree and back into the pin and started going after our livestock,” said Cathy.

Cathy’s husband followed DEEP’s orders and fired a single shot, killing the bear.

“It’s devastating it was like watching a bear eat your family member,” said Cathy.

Cathy says bear sightings are a growing issue in the state.

“It’s because we’re overpopulated and there’s not enough food for them to eat,” said Cathy. “It’s because we’re building more and more houses and coming into their environment.”

Steve Martins lives right down the street and says he’s already taking steps to keep bears from his pets.

“We lock them up at night but I know the bears are out doing the day,” said Martins. “Luckily, we work right here at the house.”

Cathy is asking for more attention and awareness to prevent a similar outcome.

University of Connecticut researcher Dr. Tracy Rittenhouse explains what her study revealed about where bears live in Connecticut. 

“There is no public announcement about the going on and that’s what we were all talking about in the neighborhood,” said Cathy.

DEEP advises the following if you come in contact with a bear:

“Remain calm and observe the bear from a distance. Do not approach or try to get closer to a bear. If the bear is unaware of your presence, back away or make noise which will often cause the bear to flee. If the bear is aware of you and does not flee, talk to the bear in a calm voice and back away slowly. Never run or climb a tree. If the bear approaches, be offensive. Make more noise, wave your arms, and throw objects at the bear. Black bears rarely attack humans. However, if you are attacked, do not play dead. Fight back with anything available.”

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