Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dogs are not always your best friends.

We like dogs in Kodiak. You always see one in the back of a pick-up truck or inside a car as you walk throught the Wal Mart parking lot. (No, we don't worry about them overheating inside a car). And we do take them on all our hikes. But sometimes that is not a good idea, as this article by Nicole Klauss in the Kodiak Daily News recently reminded us.

"A Kodiak man who was bitten on his foot by a bear survived the incident by playing dead.

The man was walking a friend's dog in the area between Swampy Acres and Lake Catherine on Tuesday afternoon when he stumbled upon a sow and two cubs 20 feet ahead of him.

The man’s identity could not be confirmed by press time.

"It sounded like initially the bear started going the other direction, but the dog decided it wanted to sniff the cubs, and the mama bear didn't think that was something that she wanted to happen," said Larry Van Daele, regional wildlife supervisor for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

When the dog ran back to the man, the bear ran after the dog. As soon as the man saw the bear, he rolled up in a ball and played dead.

"It was the right thing to do," Van Daele said.

The bear reportedly grabbed the man's foot and pulled him a little bit, then checked on her cubs. When she came back to the man, she sniffed his head, bit his foot and ran off. The dog was on scene and barking the whole time, Van Daele said.

Van Daele said this was a worst-case scenario because the bears were likely unaware there were people around.

"It was a surprise because the wind was blowing so neither knew the other was there," he said. "From the description I heard, the bear had started to go the other way and would have gone off."

Van Daele said the bear has not been marked for death because it was an accidental encounter.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game discussed the incident with the Alaska State Troopers, Kodiak Police Department and the Coast Guard Military Police to determine whether or not the bear was dangerous.

"We all feel this was a surprise encounter and the bear acted defensively," Van Daele said. "If she would have charged him aggressively and if it had been a more severe mauling, then we would consider it one that crossed the line. All things considered it sounds like she did the right thing and he did the right thing, and they lived to tell about it."

Signs have been posted around the area warning people of the attack. Van Daele said the bear and her cubs should be heading to their den for winter soon, but there is still a chance she could be around the area.

"Fortunately, no one was hurt severely," he said."

Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at nklauss@kodiakdailymirror.com.
Read more: Kodiak Daily Mirror - Kodiak man bitten by bear

Maybe this is what the happy twins and mom looked like, before being rudely interrupted by that barking dog.

What would your mom have done if a dog came to bother her "babies" ?


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