Local News

Mountain residents dealing with increased number of bear break-ins

Posted September 28, 2012 11:12 p.m. EDT
Updated September 29, 2012 7:16 a.m. EDT

— It seems more like a children's story than real life, but residents in the North Carolina mountain town of Black Mountain are dealing with an increased number of home break-ins – by bears.

Scott Roy and his family returned home from dinner recently one night to find food scattered all over their floor, several broken windows and more than $1,000 in damage.

He's not alone.

Experts with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission say the number of bear break-in reports are the highest they've been in 30 years.

It's unclear exactly why the surge of instances, but biologists say it might have to do with a shortage of natural food supplies as well as people moving into bears' habitats.

Residents have been urged to not keep food, including pet food and bird seed, outside and not to feed them.

They are allowed to shoot them only if they are breaking into homes or are threatening people or pets.

The animals are drawn by food in garbage cans or pet food and that they will often break into refrigerators and pantries.

That was the case with Roy, who believes a mother bear and her four cubs were responsible for the mess they left at his home.

"We had a jar of peanut butter sitting out, and she had devoured it," he said. "She loves cheese. She ate all the cheese out of the refrigerator."