Bear kills dog near Zimmerman

A female bear with three cubs killed a dog near Zimmerman early this morning (Monday, May 7.)

The bear was in the back yard of a residence feeding at a bird feeder when the incident occurred,

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according to the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office. The residence is located on 261st Avenue straight east of Zimmerman, almost at the Isanti County line, according to Capt. Scott Fildes.

Sheriff Joel Brott said that it is not uncommon for bears to be spotted in Sherburne County. With the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, the Sand Dunes State Forest and quite a bit of rural area in Sherburne County, bears will frequently live and pass through the county.

“It is, however, rare for there to be an incident such as what happened today,” Brott said in a press release.

During this time of the year the bears have come out of their winter dens hungry and their natural food sources are not yet available to them, Brott said. Common food sources for bears, until natural foods are available, are bird feeders, garbage, dog food and even barbeque grills.

Brott suggests that people who are concerned about bears should stop feeding birds and to make sure their garbage, dog food and barbeque grills are stored in a place that the bears cannot access.

If anyone sees a bear and has a concern about that bear, Brott advised contacting Assistant Wildlife Manager Nick Snazely at 320-255-4279 or Conservation Officer Mitch Sladek at 763-497-5880.

If a bear is an immediate threat to public safety call 911 and a deputy will respond.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources also has a landowner publication on how to live with bears at http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/assistance/backyard/privatelandsprogram/bear_country.pdf

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