NEWS

Black Bear Shot Dead By Halton Police

05/16/2012 06:58 EDT | Updated 07/16/2012 05:12 EDT

A black bear spotted in a small wooded area near several Burlington, Ont., homes was shot dead Wednesday by Halton police officers.

Residents reported the bear in Mount Forest Park around 10 a.m. and police contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources for help.

But Halton regional police Sgt. Dave Cross said the police service couldn't get the assistance it needed, and was not equipped to handle the situation without putting the animal down.

"We do not have tranquilizer guns or that capability, nor are we trained to utilize them," Cross said.

"Our officers do not relish having to dispatch an animal, but our options were extremely limited," he added in a statement.

Bear weighed up to 400 pounds

City of Burlington Animal Control were also not equipped to safely resolve the situation, though they were contacted.

The bear was an adult male weighing up to 400 pounds, and had at one point ventured only nine metres away from one residence.

“[Ministry of Natural Resources] personnel advised police that in order to immobilize a bear to relocate it, it needs to be contained up a tree and not in a densely populated residential area,” Cross explained in a press release.

“MNR officials said it can take up to 15 to 20 minutes for immobilization to take effect, and the bear can be actively on the move and still pose a threat during this time which is why this method is not suitable for residential areas."

At least four shots were fired.

One women who heard the gunshots said she was sad the animal had to be killed.

"I'm glad that I wasn't walking in there with my 22-month-old or my five-and-a-half-year-old," she said.

Michael Gravelle, the minister of natural resources, said this week the ministry would no longer tranquilize and relocate rogue bears, arguing that the practice wasn't working and bears continued to return to the same areas.

There were three separate sightings of a black bear in Milton, Ont., this week.

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