SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) – A 500-pound wild bear has broken into a home in South Lake Tahoe and it’s not the first time, police say
This bear has entered dozens of houses and has become a real problem for the inhabitants.
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Known as “Hank the Tank”, locals are considering whether or not to have the bear killed, as they believe it may be the only option at this point.
It is well known and now wanted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. A spokesperson said the bear has damaged dozens of homes and is responsible for more than 150 calls.
The Fish and Wildlife Department has been trying to track Hank for over 6 months.
“These are neighborhoods, there are a lot of people, traffic and cars. So we need to do this in a way that is safe for the public and the bear itself,” said spokesman Peter Tira. “He’s a very habituated bear to food. That means he’s a bear that has lost all fear of people and looks to people and houses as a source of food.
“I’m tired of having to fear our lives frankly because of what the bear may or may not do,” Bridget Marchetti Philip explained.
Philip and his family own a house across the street from where Hank was last seen on Catalina Drive. Her brother-in-law, John Barrett, explained that he was worried about their children.
The most recent burglary took place on Catalina Drive Friday morning when police responded to reports that Hank was inside a home.
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The bear had broken a small window and entered the house where the owners did not know how to get it out.
Officers responded and knocked outside the house until Hank came out the back door. They then remained in the area to ensure he continued on his way without damaging or entering other homes.
“We have to be able to protect our children and be able to get out of our homes,” he said.
Other neighbours, though less worried, are still taking extra precautions.
“I’ve been in town for 40 years and closed recently and never did this,” Tim Johnson explained. “The longer we don’t feed them, the more that won’t be the case.”
Killing him is a move the bear league calls cruel and unnecessary.
“We don’t want anyone getting hurt. Nobody wants that,” one person said. “We also don’t want the bear to die.”
The Bear League said it is still awaiting a response from Fish and Wildlife about a possible relocation of the sanctuary. Meanwhile, a meeting on the issue is scheduled for Wednesday night in Tahoe Keys.
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You can read more about Hank the Tank, here.