Town on alert after police chief has run-in with bear - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Town on alert after police chief has run-in with bear

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City officials in Nelson, Ga. are warning residents to "bear-proof" their homes after the police chief found himself face-to-paw with a black bear.

Chief Heath Mitchell says there have been close to a dozen sightings of bears in the past couple of weeks, but he was still surprised to get up within 10 feet of one.

"I wasn't scared. I was excited. Now, my hair may have been standing up like I had gel in it or something," Mitchell said.  

Mitchell saw the bear on Becky Ridler's porch. Ridler said that the bear managed to take the top off of some cat food and have a snack.

Neighbor Connie Law took photos of the bear from the end of the driveway but didn't get any closer.

"I was ready to run if need be," Law said.

Once the chief spooked the bear, it wandered across the street and tried to climb up a tree.

"Bless his heart, he fell off into the kudzu and off down into the mountains he ran," Mitchell said.

The chief is now warning people who live in Nelson to bear proof their homes.

"They're keeping their trash up. The dog food, cat food -- not leaving out. No food in their cars, Bears have been known to break in peoples cars," Mitchell said.

The Department of Natural Resources has given the chief some rubber bullet just in case he comes across another bear.

The chief says people need to remember that bears are more scared of us than we are of them. He says if anyone sees them in their front yard, just bang some pots and pans and make a lot of noises; typically, the bear will be on its way.

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