Black bear captured, euthanized

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

For video of the bear:

A black bear chased by law enforcement officers into a tree two blocks east of the Carson City Sheriff's Department had to be euthanized because it's been captured several times in downtown Carson City.

Carl Lackey, biologist with the Department of Wildlife, said the 6-year-old brown boar was captured two years ago on the step to the Capitol building, once on Colorado Street and in 2004 in Reno. He's been a nuisance for at least four years, Lackey said.

A GPS collar allowed biologists to track the bear's movements for about a year.

Each time the bear was captured, he was released deep into the wild, only to return.

"We gave him every kind of opportunity, and he continued to hang around in downtown Carson. That's just no good for a bear. It's a public safety issue," Lackey said. "We release dozens of bears every year. We release far more bears than we euthanize."

Police were first called at 7:06 a.m. to Colorado and South Edmonds streets by Carrie Suesmith when she was dropping her 11- and 14-year-old children off at a friend's house.

"I just thought, 'Wow,'" she said.

For at least two hours, deputies scoured the area between Fairview Drive and Little Lane where the bear was last seen going over a fence at 1196 Spartan Dr.

At the time, Deputy Bill Richards surmised that the bear likely went under a house on nearby Jewell Street.

Mark VanVoorst, principal at Fremont Elementary on 1151 Firebox Road, said the school held its 10:15-10:30 a.m. recess inside at the request of Sheriff Kenny Furlong as a precaution.

He said the sheriff and school officials later told him the area was clear of the bear.

Seven hours later, in the same neighborhood as earlier, a caller reported the bear just left her driveway at 1169 Jewell Street and headed off toward Little Lane.

"A 400-pound bear being able to disappear in a small neighborhood like that was incredible," said Lackey.

Deputies and state troopers chased the animal as it ambled down Carson Meadows Drive, crossed Como Street and jumped a fence into the front yard of a home at the corner of Goldfield and Carson Meadows.

The bear then escaped the yard, darted across Carson Meadows and ended up in the backyard of a vacant home at 1217 Goldfield Ave. As people approached, the bear ran up a cottonwood tree.

Across the chain-link fence next door, Randi Cole was playing with her niece Jiabella Williams in the backyard when she looked over and came face to face with the bear.

"I was so shocked when I saw him," Cole said.

She rushed to tell her mother, Tina Mitchell, and the two women stood in their yard, in the sweltering heat and watched the bear.

"That is so insane," Cole said.

Supervisor Pete Livermore and his wife, Lori, were called by Lori's mother, Evelyn Bird, who lives on the other side of the house where the bear had taken to the tree.

After Lackey shot the bear with tranquilizers and it fell to the ground, Livermore snapped photographs.

Bird said she's lived at the west corner of Goldfield Avenue and Carson Meadows for more than 40 years and she's never seen a bear in her neighborhood.

Lori Livermore was upset to learn that the animal would be put down.

"Can't they just take it way out and release it?" she asked. "It's so sad to see an animal put down."

" Appeal reporter Dave Frank contributed to this report.

- Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.


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