ASHTABULA COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – An Ashtabula County woman says she was alarmed when she received a Ring security camera notification on her phone that there was an intruder just outside the front door of her home in Rome Township.
Video from the camera revealed the late night visitor was a large black bear, foraging for food and apparently attracted by the aroma of cat food and a grill on the porch.
“It was definitely shocking because I’ve never seen a bear in my whole life of living in Northeast Ohio and, you know, it’s not something that you see every day, especially coming up on your porch unannounced in the middle of the night,” Brianna Elmore told FOX 8.
The 23-year-old, who is a nurse at University Hospitals’ Geneva Community Hospital, says it appeared the bear then vanished into the night, but when her boyfriend went outside, he discovered that the creature was still in their yard.
The bear had knocked over a garbage can and was rummaging for scraps.
Elmore says she was relieved that her Australian Shepherd, Leo, was not outside at the time of the late night visit from the bear.
“He was completely oblivious, he had no idea that the bear was on the front porch. He’s a really good guard dog most of the time, but I guess that night he was lacking a little bit,” she said with a chuckle.
According to the Ohio Division of Wildlife, this is the time of year when black bear sightings start to increase.
“Young males are looking to establish territory in the late spring, early summer and many of these individuals are traveling over from Pennsylvania and West Virginia and wind up in Northeast Ohio. They spend a few weeks or a few months,” said spokesperson Jamey Emmert.
Wildlife officers say if there is a black bear spotted in your neighborhood, it’s a good idea to temporarily remove some of the items that might attract them onto your property.
As another video of a black bear in Geauga County in mid-April illustrates, they are drawn to bird feeders and also attracted to pet food, grills and garbage.
Wildlife experts say black bears are generally passive, but it’s important to know what to do if you come face-to-face with one.
“Raise your hands over your head. If you have a jacket, take the jacket off, hold the sides of the jacket out to make yourself appear larger, clap your hands, shout and most black bears are then going to turn and run away,” said Emmert.
Elmore says that while she is not worried about the bear rumbling around her neighborhood, she is being cautious.
“We should be OK as long as we’re not provoking them. I mean, they’re just looking for some food. They’re hungry, so I think they’re just being a little nosey and trying to get what they’re looking for,” she said.
Wildlife officers say it’s important to make sure that your pets do not come into contact with the bears, that usually stick around until early summer and then head back to Pennsylvania.