This large bear (above left), wandering Santa Paula early Saturday morning, was sedated and removed to the back country of Ventura County. The bear wandered into a backyard on Santa Paula St. to the surprise of the homeowner. (Above right) Santa Paula Police Officers, Santa Paula Fire Department, Santa Paula Animal Control, and the Department of Fish and Game struggle to place the approximately 500 pound bear into the back of a truck. The bear was checked over and then taken to the backcountry and released. Photos by Santa Paula Police Officer Paul Spencer

Black bear wanders into SP neighborhood, is captured and released

June 28, 2006
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesResidents of a Santa Paula residential neighborhood lost some sleep Saturday when an approximately 500-pound male black bear took an early morning stroll causing a response of personnel from a variety of agencies, according to a SPPD spokesman.The bear sighting was first reported at about 4:30 a.m., when the SPPD received a call saying that a large bear was taking a leisurely stroll in the area of Bradley and Wakeford streets.SPPD officers trained spotlights on the bear as he entered a residential backyard in the 200 block of West Santa Paula Street.With that the bear sat down next to the home.SPPD officers sealed off a two-block area around the residence and told residents to stay inside while SPPD K-9s Evan and Rex were dispatched to make sure that the bear stayed put.“He was just taking a little nappy,” said SPPD Asst. Chief Mark Hanson.Also dispatched were Santa Paula Fire Department and Animal Control personnel as well as California Department of Fish & Game wardens.
Department of Fish & Game personnel shot the bear with a tranquilizer and waited for it to lose consciousness. When the bear was declared out, a cloth was placed over its eyes and the bear was sprayed down with water to ensure that his temperature didn’t rise.It took up to 10 men to lift the hefty bear onto an electrical tailgate lift for loading onto a Department of Fish & Game truck for a trip to the Los Padres National Forest north of Fillmore, where he was released unharmed.When it came to the use of the SPPD K-9s “We didn’t let them get close, they were used more for containment,” and were stationed at the gates of the backyard where the bear was resting, said Senior Officer Jimmy Fogata who partners with Evan.“The dogs could sense something was going on but we had them there just as a precaution...if the bear had charged an officer instead of shooting him we would have deployed the dogs,” to frighten the bear. “We used the dogs to protect the bear,” from harm noted Sr. Officer Fogata who has observed wandering bears within city limits in the past.This bear was different: “He was the biggest one I’ve seen in a looked like he’s been eating avocados, he was big and fat. He definitely wasn’t preparing for a summer bathing suit.”

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