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Update: Dog dies saving family from sudden bear attack at their home
Editor's note: Authorities are now fairly certain they have caught the bear in question, which has turned out to be a large black bear, not a grizzly.
The story directly below remains unchanged (including the words "grizzly") from the original version posted before the bear was caught, and the update below provides further details. The headline has been changed, substituting the word "bear" for "grizzly."
A grizzly bear has attacked, killed and partially eaten a dog that was defending his family on the lawn of their rural Revelstoke home.
The incident happened around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 23 at the home of Stuart and Diane Andrews. They live on a rural property at 600 Highway 23 North, right next to Mount Revelstoke national park. Their property is on a plateau about 100 metres above the highway.
Stuart Andrews said he and his wife Diane had just finished brushing their 14-year-old golden retriever Buddy on their front lawn.
Suddenly, a large grizzly bear appeared from the forest about 20 metres away from where they sat. Buddy ran towards the bear barking. "The dog was trying to protect us," Andrews said.
The grizzly bore down on Buddy, trapping him with its paws and then biting into his neck, killing him instantly.
Andrews is a hunter and fisherman and has had several encounters with bears in the bush alongside Buddy. He is confident the bear was a grizzly and not a black bear. Andrews said Buddy had fended off bears several times in the past while they were on fishing trips. He believes this bear was stalking them. "The bear was obviously in a killing mood," Andrews said of its sudden attack.
Two RCMP cruisers arrived quickly, followed shortly by local Conservation Officer Sgt. Adam Christie, then later by another conservation officer from Salmon Arm.
They located Buddy's partially-eaten body on an embankment between the home and Highway 23. They set a trap for the bear, checking it on Sunday morning, but with no luck.
Andrews said he has no complaints about the RCMP or the Conservation Service, saying they arrived promptly and provided "excellent" service.
He also said he understood the reality of living next to a national park on the edge of a rural forest community. "We know what we're up against," he said. "[The grizzly] was "coming out to do what bears do."
Andrews and Buddy saw the bear in a forested part of their property about two weeks ago, but it didn't show any signs of aggressive behaviour, so Andrews said they didn't think much of it.
But since the attack, he feels "people ought to be aware that there's a bear around," he said, noting he'd notified Parks Canada since one of their hiking trails is nearby.
Sgt. Christie was not available for comment on Sunday. We'll update this story when he is available.
July 24, 6:40 p.m. update: Bear suspected in attack now destroyed
Sgt. Adam Christie updated the Times Review on Sunday evening about the Saturday bear attack.
On early Sunday afternoon, the snare trap set near the Andrews' property caught a large cinnamon-coloured male black bear, which was destroyed.
Christie said had the bear been a grizzly, authorities may have relocated it depending on its health and other considerations. Because black bear populations are healthy here, it was destroyed because it had killed a pet.
He said he was fairly certain he had killed the offending bear. "I am pretty sure given the circumstances," Christie said, noting it had returned to the location, likely to retrieve the carcass of the dog.
It was the first bear destroyed in the Revelstoke area this year.
The confusion with a grizzly was understandable. Christie added it took him a moment to judge what type of bear it was when he first saw the snared animal. The bear's size and colouring was consistent with a grizzly, and it was also partially obscured from his view at the time.
Christie noted the bear had also had additional run-ins with Andrews and Buddy in the past weeks. The dog had chased off the bear more than once, and Andrews had fired a shot over the bear, Christie said. He noted the bear could have "lost patience" with the dog or Buddy just got "unlucky" this time.