DENVILLE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (Morris County) – A bear broke into an unoccupied Riverside Drive home on Monday afternoon causing the bear to be shot, Denville Twp Police Captain Paul Nigro said.
Police responded to the neighborhood for a report of a bear rummaging through garbage cans but when police arrived, the bear was gone. As an officer was checking between homes, the officer noticed a broken basement window at a residence, he looked inside and “saw a bear staring at the officer,” Nigro said.
The bear was classified as a Category 1 bear since the bear entered into a residential home, Nigro said.
A category 1 bear is classified as a bear that’s “exhibiting behavior that is an immediate threat to human safety, those causing agricultural damage to farmland or property over $1,000,” according to New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
“Category 1 bears are euthanized as soon as possible to protect the public or eliminate further damage to agricultural crops or property,” according to NJDEP.
The officers didn’t want to euthanize the bear inside the residence, so they opened the door and started to shout to get the bear outside.The bear eventually left the residence and “took one look to the left and right and then went to another garbage can,” Nigro said.
Police fired a slug at the bear, which was ineffective and then fired rubber bullets, to steer the bear away from residences. The bear eventually ran into the woods, Nigro said.
Police officers along with NJDEP officials searched the area for a few hours but the search for the bear was unsuccessful. The blood trail from the bear was likely superficial and the bear would likely recover, Nigro said.
“A few times Denville Twp police had to shoot at a bear but never had a bear break into a house,” Nigro said.