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REPORTING · 11th June 2012
Walter McFarlane

Judy McHale is warning Cablecar residents about an aggressive bear in the neighbourhood after she lost her dog, Oreo on a trail ride last Wednesday.

“We were on our way home from a trail ride, me and a girlfriend, and we were just going towards Cablecar at the bottom of the flats by the river,” said McHale.

This trail is one which a lot of people go walking along and fishermen use to access the river. The trail is also used by youth on ATVS and motorbikes. It is located near the Snowflake Fairground and the bridge which was constructed near Cablecar.

The two of them did not see the bear even though they might have passed close to it. The Horses noticed it first.

“The horses started acting funny and we heard a noise. We turned around and looked at the bear. We never thought nothing of it because it was probably about 50 yards away. We just kept on going, a little bit faster, we run into bears all the time so it’s not anything out of the ordinary,” said McHale.

They reached the corner and saw the bear was running after them at full speed. The two of them brought the horses to a full gallop and started screaming to scare the bear away.

“The dog was between me and the bear and about three quarters up the trail, he was still chasing us. I heard a yelp from the dog and a scream from the dog and I couldn’t see anything because we were around a little bit of a bend in the trail. We just kept going. There was nothing we could do,” said McHale.
She believes the dog was tired after a two and a half hour trail ride.

The Conservation Officers were contacted and they deployed a bear trap in the area. As of Friday morning, the bear trap was still empty.

We contacted The Conservation Officers for safety advice regarding bears. Conservation Officer Dale Kluivers responded:

“The COS reminds the public if they encounter a bear to remain calm, make oneself as big as possible and if in a group to stay together, face the bear and back away slowly. Never look a bear straight in the eyes as the bear can interpret this as a sign of aggression. Of course in this incident the individuals involved were on horseback and could not have backed away easily.

When traveling in bear habitat with a dog, it is advised to keep your pet on a leash. In the past, off-leash dogs chased by bears have led bears to pet owners. As well, make your presence known by talking loudly and/or clapping your hands, blowing a whistle, etc.

Had the women taken the necessary precautions and reacted in a manner as advised above, the bear might have simply turned and disappeared.”

The Conservation Officers conducted searches on three occasions for the dog and the bear. They did not find them but they did find there were several bears in the immediate area and did not want to take a chance of catching a non targeted bear. They removed the trap on Friday.
Horses and dogs
Comment by CEM on 21st June 2012
Horses and dogs are not a good mixture anywhere but especially in bear country. Whether hiking or horseback riding .....dogs are always wanting to be close to their owners and the chance of them attracting a bear is just too great. It is a risk and no one knows what the dog will really do. One cannot expect a 70 or even a 150 lb dog to compete with the size of a bear . The idea of having a dog on a leash is rediculous while horseback riding. The scenario would not be good. If you really love your dog leave it at home and take bear spray and be prepared. I think this bear either had cubs or a kill of somekind nearby. It is easier said than done, who wouldn't want to back out of a situation like this one but to backout with a horse with a bear charging......who wouldn't run. You can't roll down into a ball with a horse you try to just get out of the situation. Easy for the CO's to say when they carry a gun !