Amherst Bear Euthanized by Police on Monday Night

Bear was hit by car on 990 last month; Wandered around Amherst/Getzville

Mike Baggerman
July 10, 2018 - 12:19 pm

AMHERST, N.Y. (WBEN) - Amherst Police euthanized the black bear which traveled throughout the town over the last two weeks on Monday evening.

Amherst Police Captain James McNamara said that the bear was moving around freely for several days, though it was struck by a car on the 990 on June 28 and had extremely limited use of one of its legs. However, despite the injury, the bear continued to walk through the Amherst/Getzville area, though it stopped moving long distances. 

At approximately 8:30 p.m., the bear was seen at Renaissance and Covent Garden in several yards in the neighborhoods.

WATCH: Amherst Police Captain James McNamara

"The officer at that time observed it," McNamara said. "It appeared to move in and out of several yards. Its movement was hindered....The officers at that time believed there was a danger to the public and were concerned about the public. When the bear moved itself to a position where the officers thought they could euthanize it safely, they did so."

McNamara said that Amherst Police were in consistent contact with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, though the officer who put the bear down did not make a call to the DEC prior to shooting it with their patrol rifle. 

"The officers on location at that time thought it was necessary to take the measure to protect the public," McNamara said.

Because the bear did not have use of one of its leg, it could not leave the area. McNamara said the bear was not euthanized because of the injury itself.

In a statement, the DEC said it planned to trap the bear on Tuesday with Amherst Animal Control. The DEC did not direct the Amherst Police Department to dispatch the bear. However, the DEC told WBEN that local municipalities are responsible for ensuring public safety and the decision to take down the bear was within Amherst Police's jurisdiction if they believed it was a threat to public safety. 

Both Amherst Police and the DEC were hopeful the bear would move into a safe environment on its own. 

Following the bear's death, an animal pickup specialist picked it up. McNamara said the DEC was contacted about wanting extra testing, which the DEC reportedly declined. 

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