S’mass police forced to put down bear cub
Snowmass Police were forced to put down a baby bear over the weekend after severely injuring it with a less-than-lethal weapon.
Police Chief Brian Olson said Tuesday that an officer was called to the Snowmass Mall around 10 p.m. Friday after a bear and her two cubs got into a delivery of Doritos and potato chips left near a stairwell.
The officer tried to haze the bears from the top of the stairs, striking the mother on the backside with less-than-lethal beanbag ammunition deployed from a shotgun, Olson said.
The mother took off running but the cubs remained, he said. When the officer attempted to thump the backside of one of the cubs, Olson continued, it turned and the beanbag hit and penetrated its stomach area, causing a serious wound.
Olson said the officer was working alone and after calling in more staff “tracked the cub immediately to safely put it down. It was heavy-hearted. … Less-than-lethal weapons have the potential to turn lethal if not applied to perfection, and this is an example of that,” Olson said.
Olson said most Snowmass police officers are well-accustomed to dealing with village area bears, and the department hasn’t had to put down a bear in roughly a decade.
This particular bear family had not posed problems for officers, foraging mainly on crab apple trees around the village. Olson said he believes police successfully deployed at least 100 beanbags this year to scoot bears out of potential conflict areas over the summer and fall months.
“This summer was no different than years past, we fought long and hard to keep bears out of trouble,” Olson said. “It’s a real bummer this particular situation ended the way it did.”
Olson said Colorado Parks and Wildlife has been notified of the incident.
On top of acknowledging the incident as something the police department should learn from, Olson also encouraged the public to do its part in responsibly managing food and trash so bears aren’t enticed to stray from their natural food sources.
The Snowmass Police Department is investigating where the undelivered chips left on the mall came from, and could issue a fine or ticket as a result.
“You can’t leave food out like that, and if you see something, say something,” Olson said, referring to people who may have walked past the undelivered food. “I think we could do a better job as a community to pay attention to small things like that.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Thunder River Theatre’s new director dives into season with all-female Grand Canyon adventure comedy
What: Thunder River Theatre Company’s “Men on Boats.”