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Black bear killed after wandering into Townsend home

WATE 6 On Your Side staff - TOWNSEND, Tenn. (WATE) -- Homeowners in Townsend returned to their home Thursday to find a bear inside their bedroom.

At around 5:30 p.m., a Townsend woman says she was in the basement of her home on Fox Chase Drive when she heard a loud crash. She went upstairs to find a black bear inside her bedroom. She says she was able to close the bear off inside the bedroom and call for help.

The bear somehow managed to get out of the bedroom and officers said the animal trapped itself in a bathroom.

"When the officers went in, their intention was to immobilize the bear with tranquilizing darts," said Matt Cameron with TWRA. "Due to the position of the bear, it was behind an 'L' shaped wall. They were unable to get a dart in the bear."

TWRA says they operate under a document called the "Black Bear Matrix," which sets guidelines the agency uses to deal with problem bears. While the matrix allows for some bears to be trapped and relocated, a bear that has entered a home or a vehicle has lost its fear of humans and must be killed in order to prevent it from further endangering human lives.

"This bear had likely been intentionally fed by humans at some point and had learned to associate humans with food and probably smelled food inside the home. Considering there is human scent all over a house, the bear should have been deterred from coming near it to begin with," said Cameron.

Cameron said it was fortunate that the residents were not home when the bear broke inside. He said it is hard to say what the bear would have done if the couple had been inside when it came in, but thankfully no one was injured.

The homeowner says she has lived in her Laurel Valley home, which is part of a golf course community, for 17 years.

"I think it worked out for the best," said Cameron. "Maybe not the best for the bear, but, at least nobody was injured in this situation."

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