From the Nederland Police Department:
To: Nederland Board of Trustees
From: Chief Jake Adler
Re: Recent bear encounters within our community
Dear Board Members,
As most of you are aware, Nederland has experienced a small rash of bear encounters, especially in our “old town” areas. This is not uncommon and we are called in most cases to respond to these sightings. Our role, as the Police Department, is to assess the situations (primarily scare them off), offer advice or pursue containment measures, should these animals pose any type of threat to humans or domestic animals alike.
Almost all of the recent calls are due to citizens leaving trash or bagged items in their yards and porch areas. A bear is not aware of trespass issues or criminal mischief; it is the responsibility of living in a wildlife area that citizens take measures to protect their property and secure trash items in containers or containment designed to thwart bear curiosity or hunger. Many people are very surprised when the Department of Wildlife is called to an incident and they are issued a very large ticket for “baiting wildlife” by not containing their refuse.
In worst case scenarios, we will engage an animal to protect human life. In almost all other cases, we do keep a “less lethal” shotgun in the patrol cars. This gun is loaded with bean bag rounds; they do not injure the animal in any way and are only utilized in situations where imminent danger exists. The last option, which is normally reserved for animals that enter homes, show no fear of man or are a threat to the community’s safety in general, is to trap and relocate them. This is done solely by the Department of Wildlife, who initiates and completes this work. Again, during a situation such as this, it will be closely investigated to see if the citizen took any effort to contain their refuse.
In conclusion, we live directly in the middle of a forest, inhabited by all types of wildlife. That is perhaps why most of us choose to live in this beautiful location. It is every citizen’s responsibility to ensure harmony with nature and accept the understanding that these animals are wild, instinct-driven and do not understand what they do. Obviously, we advise no citizen to ever engage wildlife but to secure themselves in a safe area and call us, should the animal become a threat at anytime.
If I can be of further service, please contact me at anytime.
Chief Jake Adler