THOMASTON, CT (WFSB) - A homeowner shot and killed a mother bear in Thomaston after he thought his dog was in danger.

According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, 26-year-old William O'Connor was charged with illegal taking of a black bear.

DEEP said O'Connor had let his dog out of his home on Walnut Hill Road Tuesday night when it encountered the bear and its two cubs near his property line.

The cubs climbed a nearby tree while the mother stood its ground.

O'Connor said the bear was making huffing noises toward the dog.

He said he feared for his dog's safety, so he retrieved a .22 long rifle and shot in the direction of the bear. However, he ended up hitting it.

The bear moved about 30 yards to a neighboring property where it collapsed and died.

The dog wasn't hurt.

DEEP's EnCon police conducted an investigation. 

They determined that the cubs were healthy enough to survive on their own.

The mother was taken for a necropsy.

DEEP on Thursday sought to remind homeowners that fall is a time when bears are out increasing their food intake and fat reserves needed to help them survive winter hibernation.

It urged people not to intentionally feed bears and keep their garbage secure in airtight containers inside a garage or storage area.

It also said dog owners should supervise their pets at all times while outdoors and keep them on short leashes when walking or hiking.

More information on Connecticut black bears in the fall can be found on DEEP's website here.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(3) comments

rick be

He killed a bear with a .22-this guy is a crack shot.

Dan7543

How stupid do you have to be to not know that large wild animals live in towns like Thomaston? And, to be so naïve about mother bears protective instincts towards her cubs. This guy deserves to have the book thrown at him.

rick be

Maybe you would have him exiled from Thomaston,

so the bears would be safe there?

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