KODIAK — A bear killed a local dog on Woodland Drive on Tuesday night, according to the Kodiak Police Department and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Following the incident, the Kodiak Island School District told North Star, East and Main elementary schools’ parents that they should not allow their children to walk to school for the rest of the week. Instead, parents should either directly drop them off or pick them up at the school or the bus stop.
Superintendent Larry LeDoux said Tuesday that North Star kids were kept inside during recess.
“We get these bear alerts all the time, especially during the spring and fall,” LeDoux said. “We’ve never had an incident and do a lot of training with our teachers, but this bear appears to be more aggressive.”
However, ADF&G Wildlife Biologist Nate Svoboda said Wednesday that the bear wasn’t acting aggressively at the time of the incident with the pet dog, based on the reports given to officers.
“The bear was apparently on the side of the home without the owners knowing about it and they let their dog out so it could use the bathroom,” Svoboda said. “The dog apparently ran around the side of the house about the same time as the bear. Neither knew the other one was there, the dog startled the bear and the bear grabbed it and killed it.”
Svoboda said this was the first time ADF&G has heard of this bear being harmful.
According to Kodiak Police Department Lt. Francis de la Fuente, a KPD officer who lived in the area was about to return to duty when he saw the incident.
“He tried to act on it but wasn’t able to respond to it before the bear escaped,” de la Fuente said Wednesday. “We called Alaska State Troopers and other units since it attacked the dog, and we tried to search for it, but bears are pretty good at hiding.”
KPD put out a notification on its Nixle alert regarding the bear, including that it’s been active in the area around Woodland Acres, Woodland Drive, Sunset Drive and Melnitsa Lane.
“Report the location of any bear that appears aggressive to Kodiak Police Department and Alaska Wildlife Troopers,” de la Fuente said. “Any aggressive bear is dangerous.”
Svoboda said that ADF&G believes the bear that killed the dog is the same one that the department has been dealing with since late last year.
“Based on its actions, the bear will continue to become a problem, and it’s become used to eating trash and other human attractants,” Svoboda said. “We are working with Kodiak Police Department and Troopers to dispatch it.”
Svoboda noted the bear has elusive previous attempts to deal with it.
“We were never able to catch up to shoot it, and it went away when the weather got cold,” Svoboda said. “It’s a pretty smart bear and when I tried catching up with him last year, he knew where I was and was able to duck behind a tree and get away.”
Svoboda added that a similar situation happened Tuesday night when the bear was able to elude KPD officers.
Svoboda said now that spring is here and bears, in general, are starting to wake up, residents need to take proper precautions.
“They need to take care of their trash properly, take down their bird feeders and put the bird feed away,” Svoboda said. He added that people who have livestock or chickens need to ensure their electric fences are working properly so a bear cannot enter the area.
“People also need to be aware that this particular bear is out at night, so when they go out, they need to make noises, turn on any lights, and if they encounter it, don’t startle it,” Svoboda said.
He added that some sows and their cubs are also out, with reports of one group in the Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park and a second on Near Island.
“Most of the sows we have radio collars on are still in the dens, but they are waking up,” Svoboda said. “Most of the males are out already, so people need to be careful.”