Woman encounters black bear in southwest Calgary: ‘I thought my dog was going to be torn apart’

Click to play video: 'Woman encounters bear in southwest Calgary' Woman encounters bear in southwest Calgary
WATCH: A woman in southwest Calgary is thankful her dog is still alive after an encounter with a bear on Wednesday. Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports – Jun 27, 2020

Some people living in the southwest Calgary community of Springbank Hill are being a bit more cautious as they walk outside after video of a black bear in the area was captured on Wednesday.

The video shows a bear walking on a front driveway and scampering onto a front lawn and into a treed area.

Stephanie d’Obrenan grew up in Springbank Hill and loves walking her dog Todd there.

“We’ve seen moose here before and never bears,” d’Obrenan said Saturday.

Read more: Southwest Calgary residents on alert as bear spotted in area

But on Wednesday afternoon, Todd darted ahead of her while they were walking on Slopeview Drive.

“He goes flying after something. I look and I see these big brown ears and this big brown face and I am like, ‘My dog is going right towards a bear,'” d’Obrenan recalled.

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A black bear popped out of the trees and came within two metres of Todd, according to d’Obrenan.

“I was screaming bloody murder. I was pretty frantic. I’ve never been so terrified. I thought my dog was going to be torn apart and eaten right in front of me,” d’Obrenan said.

Her first reaction was to save her pet.

“It was absolutely terrifying and I go sprinting after him and I am very aware that I am running towards a bear at this moment. This is probably not the best idea,” d’Obrenan said.

A bear was caught on camera in southwest Calgary this week.
A bear was caught on camera in southwest Calgary this week. Courtesy: Manoj Sharma

She scooped up Todd in her arms while the bear went down into the ravine. At that point, neighbours called her to come inside.

“It’s hard to imagine how you can come face to face with a bear and try to save your pet, which is just like a child,” said Manoj Sharma, who urged d’Obrenan to get in his house to stay safe from the bear.

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Read more: Black bear dines on bird seeds in Calgary backyard: ‘He’s just doing bear stuff’

The bear ended up coming back, crossing the road and slipping into Sharma’s backyard. That’s when Sharma caught the bruin on camera.

“Every time I look at the video, it’s [scarier] because now if my kids come out to play, I don’t let them come out by themselves,” Sharma said.

Calgary Fish and Wildlife officers have received several reports of a cinnamon phase black bear travelling around the area by Lower Spring Bank Road.

Read more: Doorcam video: Mother bear, spotting opportunity, breaks into minivan at B.C. resort

According to Fish and Wildlife, officers tracked the bear and determined it has mostly been staying within the green spaces and has not been showing signs of habituated or defensive behaviour.

As of Friday, a spokesperson for Fish and Wildlife said the last confirmed sighting was near Discovery Ridge and Lower Spring Bank Road on June 24 at 4 p.m. There have been no additional reports since.

Officers are continuing to monitor the situation but a provincial Fish and Wildlife spokesperson said there are no public safety concerns at this point.

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As for d’Obrenan, she is thankful her French bulldog is still with her after his big adventure.

“I think anyone who loves their dog would probably do the same and try to get their dog. He’s my baby,” d’Obrenan said.

Residents who encounter a bear that may be a public safety concern are advised to report the incident to the nearest Fish and Wildlife office at 310-0000 or the 24-hour Report a Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.

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