Police: Bear found in north Westport

WESTPORT — Officials responded for a bear in the northern section of Westport on Wednesday afternoon, according to police.

Local police and an animal control officer went to a Highland Road residence around 2:30 p.m. “on a report of a bear in the yard,” according to a release from Lt. David Wolf of Westport Police.

It left and headed to another Highland Road home, where it was reported to have placed a paw on a person gardening, Wolf wrote. The man wasn’t injured and the bear hadn’t been aggressive, according to Wolf.

Eventually, the bear made its way to Warnock Drive, going into “an unoccupied sun porch,” police said. The bear was in the yard when animal control got there, and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection “assisted with monitoring the bear’s activities,” Wolf wrote.

DEEP spokesperson Will Healey said in an email that EnCon Police used “a standard practice hazing technique” so the bear would go away.

“The hazing technique they used was firing bean bags in the direction of the bear,” Healey wrote. “The purpose is to demonstrate to the bear that entering screened porches or homes is a negative behavior, and to keep the bear from becoming habituated to engage in those types of behaviors.”

The bear — last seen going in the direction of Weston — wasn’t aggressive and didn’t appear to be a threat, the release said. Assistant animal control officer Peter Reid advised people shouldn’t get “too close to the bear to photograph or record it,” according to the release.

This comes only a few weeks after there were multiple bear sightings in the northern section of town. At that time, police advised that bears are timid animals that try to avoid human contact. Food attractants, like bird feeders, garbage or pet food, can lure in hungry bears.

Grilling also can attract bears, so residents are urged to clean barbecues after each use. Residents also should keep an eye on pets and children outside if there is a bear in the area.

More bear-related tips can be found here.

Those who spot a bear in town can report it to Westport animal control by calling 203-341-5076, or to DEEP here, according to the release.