Family of bears scaring Chatsworth residents
CHATSWORTH, GA (WRCB) - A family of black bears has moved into the city of Chatsworth, Georgia-- breaking into garages, rummaging through trash and causing a local school to go on lock down.
Chatsworth Police say they've been swamped with calls from people reporting a family of three bears-- a mom and two cubs-- over the last week. These sightings are in highly populated areas of town. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is handling the situation, but officers say attempts to move the bears out peacefully haven't worked yet.
"The bears are coming down from that brick house walking down the hill," Brookelyn Stanfield said.
Stanfield says it was a scary day on the playground earlier this week when the bears approached her and her friends playing at the Boys & Girls Club. "They're going to attack us. Cause she had two cubs so that's what I was thinking is she going to try to protect them," she said.
Workers got the kids safely inside and they've not been allowed near the woods since, but the bears didn't stop there. "I seen momma bear and the two cubs walk across my front yard," Ricky Witt said.
"I come out here and he was getting garbage out of my trash can," Terry Sales said.
DNR officials say the bears are traveling around a one mile radius near Chatsworth Elementary School.
"We can't have P.E. or recess outside. We've been on like a lock down inside the school building," teacher Stephanie Ryan said. Ryan also lives across the street from the school. She captured some photos of the bears. They spent the night in her yard Saturday night.
"It scares me that they're this close to my house and this close to the school," Ryan said.
Dozens of people living in several neighborhoods say they're scared. "I hope they finally catch them before they you know get some kids or something like that and they get hurt by them," Witt said.
"I would just like to really know the DNR is doing everything they can to try to get them out safely," Melissa Brown said.
DNR Officers say they've put out two traps and shot them with rubber bullets-- trying to make them feel unwelcome with hopes they'll move out of the area. But so far, they're still going yard to yard, even breaking into some garages.
"I called 911 and they said to get two pans and bang them together and run them off. I didn't," Sales said.
A few people told us they got that advice. Dispatchers wouldn't comment on what they're telling people, but Chatsworth Police and DNR Officers say they are not advising people to try to scare the bears off. Instead they say to keep a distance. Their best advice is to keep garages closed and keep trash cans and pet food inside.
DNR Officers say their last resort is to tranquilize the bears, hoping their plan to run them off or trap them will work in the coming days.