Bear visits Vernon home twice
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
By COLIN McEVOY
- Christi Leggour came home Monday evening to find an unwelcome
intruder in her kitchen. A black bear had been leaning into her kitchen
window, resting in the sink and eating a nearby plate of cupcakes.
As if that wasn't bad enough, the bear returned a few hours later, trying to get back into the house from a different entrance.
just never, never would have thought he would've come back," Leggour
said. "He was coming back for more. I guess he thought the cupcakes
The Cedar Ridge resident came home from her
daughter's soccer game around 7:30 p.m. Monday evening to find her
kitchen window open. Mud was scattered around the counter, the sink's
hose was detached and spraying water everywhere, and the nearby plate
of cupcakes and jar of candy were almost completely empty.
she came into the kitchen, the culprit appeared in the window, and she
found herself only a few feet away from a black bear.
screamed and ran back outside to the garage, where she instructed her
children to get back in the car. They waited there until some neighbors
ran over and scared the bear away.
"I'm still in shock," Leggour said. "Even now, if I close my eyes, I see that big, fat bear."
that was not her last encounter with the animal. At about 1:30 a.m.,
only about six hours later, she awoke to the sound of rustling noises
downstairs. She went back to sleep assuming it was her husband, Joe,
who had fallen asleep while watching television downstairs.
next morning, she woke up to find the screen on the front door has been
clawed at, and the screen on the window next to it had been ripped out.
The screen was bent in half and discarded next to a collapsed toy tent,
which had muddy bear prints all over it.
The window was shut and
the bear never got back into the house, but Leggour said she couldn't
believe the bear would attempt to come back a second time.
he's coming back?" she said. "I had no food out or anything, but now
he's trying to get back in the house while I'm sleeping? I have kids
sleeping in three different rooms, and I'm going to greet the bear in
Wildlife technicians estimated from paw prints that
the bear weighed about 150 pounds, although they could not determine
the sex or age, according to Darlene Yuhas, a spokeswoman for the state
Department of Environmental Protection.
Yuhas said she could not
be sure whether it was the same bear in both incidents, but Leggour
said she was "about 100 percent positive" that it was the same one.
fact that the bear climbed through a window following the scent of food
is an example of the species' agility, keen sense of smell and urge to
find food, Yuhas said.
"This is bear country," she said. "It's difficult, but people need to be careful, even inside their homes."
trap has been set in the backyard of the house and Yuhas said if the
bear is caught, it will likely be destroyed. Breaking into a house is
one of the state's criteria for determining the fate of a bear, as well
as the amount of property damage it causes or whether it injures or
kills livestock or pets.
Leggour said her children - Abriella, 9;
Madelynn, 6; and Logan, 3 - used to play outside every day, but that
she did not feel safe to leave them alone.
"I have my children
playing on the porch and me sitting there watching them. They can't
even play in my yard," she said. "And every house in this neighborhood
has kids, and every kid plays outside."
Leggour said she would
often see bears in the neighborhood, but this was the first time she
felt she was in danger during an encounter. Neighbors had recently
spotted a bear with three cubs wandering around the community.
One of her neighbors, Cheryl Whitty, said the incident made the whole community feel less safe about the animals.
not that I didn't know they were capable, but I never thought they
would be so aggressive as to try to get into the house," Whitty said.
"I definitely won't be opening my windows, that's for sure."
Abriella Leggour remained in good spirits, despite the loss of the cupcakes.
"I wish he would have ate the vegetables," she said.
Bruce A. Scruton contributed to this story.