Would you shoot a big black bear to protect your dog?

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That is precisely what 26-year-old William O'Connor from Thomaston, CT, allegedly did last week. Environmental Conservation police arrested O'Connor after killing a mother bear so the bear wouldn't attack his dog, according to a Hearst Connecticut Media story.

The bear's two cubs survived the shooting, and the dog is OK. As the bear and her cubs searched for food in the woods near William O'Connor's home, his dog began to bark and approached the bear family. The mother bear didn't like this, not one little bit. The bear faced off with O'Connor at a distance and began making loud noises.

In most cases, if a threat is imminent, the mama bear will 'tree her cubs' which means if you come upon bear cubs in a tree out in the woods, get away as fast as you can because a mother bear is willing to do anything to keep her cubs safe. Don't let this happen to you.

O'Connor told Will Healey, the spokesman for DEEP, that he fired his rifle at the bear to scare it away. Healy went on to say,

Before O'Connor shot the bear, the bear stood her ground and started making loud noises, believing her cubs were threatened.

Killing a bear is illegal in Connecticut, but the General Assembly has tried to get legislation passed to allow bear hunting in Litchfield. According to DEEP, in 2019, there were 7,300 bear sightings in the state. The top five towns with the most bear sightings from April 2019 to March 2020, according to DEEP, were Farmington(501), Avon(646), Simsbury(488), Burlington(279), and Torrington(277). New Milford takes the top spot in greater Danbury with 104 bear sightings.