Police shot and killed a bear in the Kennisis Lake area July 6 which they said was due to it posing “an immediate and significant risk to public safety.”

Central region acting staff Sgt. Jason Folz said police located the bear retrieving food from inside a cottage and eating it on the deck. Folz said the bear had entered numerous cottages in the area over the past three weeks before getting caught in the Pine Point Road community.

“The bear was entering several dwellings in search of food and had lost its fear of humans,” Folz said. “For that reason, the bear was dispatched in the interest of public safety.”

Maxim Budnick is a cottager in the Kennisis Lake area who said he encountered a bear at his cottage July 5. Although it is uncertain whether the bear was the same one shot the next day, he said the bear was attempting to approach cottages.

“I was on the deck and we were about 25-feet away … Just started yelling at him, ‘hey, get out of there,’” Budnick said. “He wasn’t scared at all.”

He said the bear went to the other side of his cottage and stared into the basement window, ripping a hole in the screen with its claw. He said he scared the bear off and has not seen it since.

“What that bear needed was a good spray,” Budnick said. “I just knew the bear needed to be scared or else it was going to be a problem.”

These were not the only reports of problem bears in Haliburton in recent weeks. People reported a bear breaking into cars in the Drag Lake area in June. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) was called to set a trap. But the Drag and Spruce Lake Property Owners’ Association reported the trap was taken down June 29 after the bear was not caught, with it likely having wandered away.

Folz said it would not have been appropriate to wait for the ministry in this case.

“The bear posed an immediate and significant risk to public safety,” Folz said. “MNRF would deal with nuisance bears and we deal with immediate threats where people are in jeopardy.”

The MNRF warns bears are attracted to the smell of food. They advise people should store garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids in bearproof locations, keep pet foods indoors, remove bird feeders in spring and keep BBQ grills and drip pans clean.

Budnick said it is unfortunate for a bear to be killed in such a way. He added although police thought it was necessary, people need to be mindful to not let bears access their food.

“Most likely the bear has had easy access to food somewhere,” Budnick said. “It’s just unfortunate some people don’t understand the implications of feeding wild animals.”

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