Uptick in Bear Break-ins Across Connecticut

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Foxes, bobcats, bears oh my! Those are the sentiments of residents in the West Hartford area as they’ve been dealing with an overwhelming amount of bear sightings.

“From far away there cute but when they get close it makes me nervous,” said Kristy Wells, a resident of West Hartford.

Bear sightings are common in Connecticut.

“ It’s like animal kingdom around here,” Wells said.

But the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said they’ve seen an uptick all over the state. And as of September 10, they’ve received 42 reports of bears entering homes.

Wells recalled her own frightening experience.

“I was coming home and had a pizza in my hand and when I was walking into the garage my youngest daughter who's 11 said there’s a bear behind you and I thought she was kidding. So I turned around and it was very close.”

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

Hannah Hickey was playing in her backyard when she saw a bear.

“When I was swinging on my swing, I saw a little brown chubby butt and I thought for a minute it was a man wearing brown, black shorts but then I realized it was a bear," said Hickey.

Health officials said they can’t pinpoint a reason for the uptick in bear break-ins but that bears are really active this time of year trying to get extra food.

Jenny Dickson, director of the wildlife division for DEEP said that there are some steps you can take to keep your pets and property safe.

“Really important to do things like manage your garbage properly, make sure you don’t put your trash cans out before trash day. If you've had a cookout make sure you clean your grill. Don’t feed your pets outdoors because the bears will inevitably find it."

“Make sure your dog is on a leash," she continued."We recommend a shorter leash so a 6- to 8-foot leash is ideal.”

The number one rule Dickson shared is to not feed the bears as that will create a habit for them to return.

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