by: Tom Regan Updated:
NEWBORN, Ga. - A large black bear has been seen roaming in a rural neighborhood south of Newborn in Newton County, frightening residents, turning over garbage cans and possibly injuring dogs.
Resident Darren Stowe said he had to put down his Labrador Sarge after it was clawed by the bear.
"The dog had like machete marks on his chest, his back and on his face," Stowe said.
Stowe told Channel 2's Tom Regan he spotted the bear in his driveway one night last week and that the animal climbed on the side of his truck where his daughter was sitting.
"We saw paw prints on the truck and when he growled at my daughter, I knew something was wrong," Stowe said.
Stowe said when he shined a light on the animal, the bear stood on its rear paws.
"It must have been 6,
7 feet tall and weighed over 300 pounds," said Stowe.
Another resident who lives down the street said she heard of the bear sighting and was concerned for her children.
"I don't let them outside by themselves from now on," said parent Tabatha Mock.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources said it is not surprising to hear of the bear sighting because the animal's population is growing and spreading south.
"If a bear shows aggression, loss of fear toward people, we seriously have to consider relocation,” said DNR Wildlife biologist Don McGowan.
McGowan told Regan the agency will look into the bear sighting and gather evidence before making a determination if the animal needs to be moved.
"Trapping and removal is always a last option because it can be stress on the bear, both the trap and capture drugs," said McGowan.
The DNR said the vast majorities of black bears are docile and avoid human contact. That may change if the bear has access to human food sources including garbage, pet food and
Stowe said he hopes the bear either leaves the area or is relocated.
"It's a situation where they're getting to close to the houses here. Our neighbors have small kids. And when you have small kids and bears, you got trouble," said Stowe.