Bears seen in foothill neighborhood

Briggs Terrace residents say their gardens show evidence of the animals.

July 24, 2010|By Veronica Rocha,

LA CRESCENTA — Summer heat and charred hillsides have prompted the tell-tale signs of wildlife coming down into urban neighborhoods for respite and food.

Bears, bobcats, deer and coyotes have been spotted recently in backyards and on neighborhood streets as much of their habitat recovers from the massive Station fire and subsequent mud flows.

Black bears have been spotted roaming the Briggs Terrace neighborhood, said Los Angeles County Sherriff's Lt. Angela Shepard.

The bears have been wreaking havoc on gardens, and leaving piles of dung behind.

The bear sightings have prompted the Crescenta Valley Town Council to issue an advisory to residents warning them to refrain from feeding the animals and to keep trash cans secured.

Earlier this week, Timberlake Drive resident Jerry Sherman spotted two bobcats in a shaded spot in his backyard.

"I like the outdoors, so it wasn't scary for me," he said.

The bobcats appeared healthy and plump, he said, unlike the skinnier coyotes he has seen in the neighborhood.


Sherman said the mid-sized cats mostly lounged underneath a patio.

Last August, a mountain lion attacked and killed an 85-pound German shepherd Akita mix while it slept on a backyard patio. Before the attack, Glendale officials had warned residents of mountain lion sightings.

Mountain lions generally prefer to live in the foothills and mountains because their main food source, deer, live there, according to the California Department of Fish and Game.

The department estimates between 4,000 and 6,000 mountain lions live in foothills statewide.

Coyotes — also a common sight in urban neighborhoods during the summer months — can adapt to almost any environment that has food, according to the department.

While they can often be seen rummaging through neighborhood garbage cans, they have been known to eat pets.

Experts say residents should keep pet food indoors. Most attacks on pets in backyards or on hikes occur during dusk and nighttime hours.

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