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Willapa Harbor Herald
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(360) 942-3466 • PO Box 706, Raymond, WA 98577

Black bear mauls dog near Vader—officials say it is simply in their nature

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A local family has had a close brush with a black bear near Vader and are being told to remain cautious as the area is a bear habitat.

Tom Hicker, who lives on the 100 block of Brim Creek Rd., just west of Vader, said his son's dog had been wondering through the woods on their properly July 4 and returned with a large bite mark on its neck and wounds on its paw consistent with a bear mauling. This happened just one day after Hicker's son and grandson reportedly encountered a black bear on the property without incident.

The dog has since survived with stitches and antibiotics, care of Centralia Chehalis Animal Hospital, but the bear remains at large despite Hicker contacting the Department of Fish and Wildlife to report a dangerous animal.

Hicker said department officials explained the bear was simply doing what comes naturally for its kind and there is no need to remove it or neutralize it, but for residents to be cautious and aware they are living in a bear habitat.

According to the department's web site, humans outnumber bears in Washington only by five-to-one, and they tend to hunt more than forage during the summer months. Another black bear, which Hicker believes to be the same one that found his property, was sighted several times in and around Vader back in March and, though there were no reported attacks, residents were told to be on the lookout.

If you happen to see a bear in your neighborhood, contact the non-emergency dangerous animal hotline at 1-877-933-9847 or dial 911 in the event of an emergency. Those who encounter a bear are cautioned to remain calm, to not approach the animal and, in the event of an attack, to lay on your stomach and play dead and wait for the bear to leave. And remember it is illegal to discharge a firearm within city limits, so do not seek to hunt down the bear if you find it in Vader Proper.
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