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Bear euthanized in Payson after trying to enter home

Posted at 6:59 PM, May 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-01 11:02:09-04

A bear was euthanized in Payson earlier this week after it tried to enter a home and was spotted in the area on several different occasions.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department announced Thursday that the bear was spotted three days in a row wandering around the home, even pushing on the front door Tuesday as the homeowner pushed back from the other side. 

"I looked out the front door, and the bear and I were face to face," said resident Joseph Stapp. "He was pushing on the door, and I was pushing back. I was not scared, but I couldn't shoo him."

This is just one of several bear sightings across the state recently in residential areas. On May 17 a bear was spotted wandering a neighborhood in Mesabut residents say it eventually made its way back to its natural habitat.

Then this week a bear was euthanized after being spotted in an Anthem neighborhood. Game and Fish says the bear had to be put down because it had also been spotted recently in a Prescott neighborhood and was a public safety concern. 

In a release, AZGFD says a second bear also had to be euthanized after it was deemed a public safety concern this week, but did not release details on that incident. The bear euthanized Tuesday in Payson was the third put down this week by AZGFD. 

Wildlife officers from AZGFD live-trapped the adult male bear in Payson after the resident called 911. AZGFD says the bear had to be euthanized "because of the bear's aggressive behavior and lack of fear toward humans."

"This season's extremely dry conditions are making it difficult for bears to find natural food and water sources, increasing the chances of bears coming into neighborhoods," Wildlife Manager Jarrod McFarlin said. "Bears can become habituated to human-related food sources and quickly lose their fear of humans. People living in bear country should do their part to keep wildlife safe by removing attractants such as bird seed, pet food, hummingbird feeders, and trash from their yards, and by keeping all trash inside a secured area until collection day."

Game and Fish says when encountering wildlife, keep a safe distance and discourage interaction with them. AZGFD urges Arizona residents to refrain from feeding wild animals to keep wildlife wild. Report aggressive or unusual animal behavior to the Arizona Game and Fish Department at (623) 236-7201 at any time, day or night.