Henrietta, N.Y. (WROC) — When a black bear showed up in Ruth Levey’s backyard, she didn’t even realize what it was at first.
“All of a sudden I saw this black thing running through the bushes and the dogs following her,” Levey said, “and then the next thing I know there’s this bear running up the tree as fast as I’ve ever seen.”
Levey’s dog, a 7-year-old rescue named Sophie, had ran the black bear up the tree.
Levey then called 911 to report the incident. When the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) arrived, they said it would be best to let the bear leave on it’s own.
“They said that if they were to tranquilize it and re-home it, it has a better chance of survival if they just let it go,” Levey said.
Chloe Haley, Ruth’s daughter said seeing the bear didn’t scare her because their dog Sophie said she had it under control.
“It shows that my dog is tough and she’ll do anything for us. I don’t have to be scared if anyone comes in our house or anything because she’ll be there for us.”
But what if you don’t have a ‘Sophie’ in your backyard?
Emily Malley, the environmental educator at Tinker Nature Park said the best thing to do is stay calm, call 911 to report the incident and if possible, leave the bear alone.
“Black bears here in the suburbs and the exurbs of Rochester, New York are usually transitory juvenile males,” Malley said.
“They’re looking for food, a new home range and they’re looking for love.”
While they’re not very interested in people, the best way to avoid them in your yard is to put away food that is for animals.
“Take your bird feeders in, take cat food and dog food in,” Malley said.
If you happen to encounter one out walking Malley said the best thing to do is stand your ground, speak firmly, avoid eye-contact, and walk sideways away from it.