Police: Several Reports of Roaming Black Bear

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KIRTLAND, Ohio -- Dotty Smitley isn’t quite sure what got her dog, Norbert, riled up on Saturday.

“He was growling, like, real deep in his throat early in the morning when we got up, and he was at the door looking at something,” she said. “A few minutes later, I came and looked and I couldn’t see anything. He usually does that if we have a large animal.”

Smitley soon realized that her three-year-old dog may have seen a bear.

According to Kirtland police, several residents had called 911 to report a black bear sighting. The bear was spotted in Smitley’s neighborhood, near Kirtland High School, putting many residents on edge.

“I’m afraid that somebody, some young child is going to see the bear and run to it and try to be nice to it,” said Alan Clough, of Kirtland.

Kirtland Police dispatchers said the bear was last spotted on Chillicothe Road in Kirtland sometime around 9 a.m. Saturday.

Then, the bear was seen heading out toward Willoughby Hills. The Willoughby Hills Police Department confirmed that residents in the Waite Hill area had also seen the bear.

Lake Metroparks told Fox 8 that bear sightings aren’t unusual in Northeast Ohio.

Last year, about 60 bears were spotted in residential areas the state. Most of these sightings are in Northeast Ohio. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, on average, 100 bears live in Ohio wildlife.

Last week, police shot and killed a black bear spotted in Uniontown. Residents in Ashtabula also reported seeing a bear in their neighborhood.

ONDR said people should keep their garbage cans contained and clear of debris and should keep an eye on their bird feeders; both are hot-spots for bears.

If you see a bear near your home, do not approach it. Bears are scared of humans, but they can be aggressive.

As for now, Smitley said she’ll be more cautious about her surroundings, especially for her furry little Norbert.

“Maybe just watch out, especially when it’s dry with the dog, that he doesn’t get out and surprise something. Cause he’s a little scrappy dog. He would try to go after it,” she said.