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Young bear makes rounds of backyard pools in Valley neighborhood

September 13, 2012 |  9:53 pm

Helicopters buzzed above a Granada Hills neighborhood Thursday evening as yet another bear made a suburban foray.

Los Angeles Police Department Officer Tenesha Dobine said the bear was first reported about 6:45 p.m. in the 13000 block of Whistler Avenue. The young black bear took dips in backyard swimming pools and also did some climbing, she said.

“He was in a tree at first; then he came down,” Dobine said.

LAPD and city animal control officers responded to the neighborhood, and agents from the state Department of Fish and Game were on their way, she said. The state agency is routinely called in when bears and other wildlife make their way in from the nearby foothills.

This has been the summer (and spring) of the bear. In April, a bear that would soon come to be known as Meatball and Glen Bearian was captured and released -- for the first time -- back in the Angeles National Forest after he made several trips into Glendale on trash pickup days. Following two more relocation attempts, the bear is now at an exotic animal rescue site in San Diego County.

Two weeks ago, a bear was hit by a car on the 210 Freeway and limped to a Starbucks. That bear had to be euthanized because of its injuries.

On Sunday a 300-pound black bear strolled through Montrose, heading for a freeway. That prompted California Highway Patrol officers to stop traffic on the 210 Freeway in both directions. The bear walked through several neighborhood yards, and caused a brief panic at a soccer game at Crescenta Valley High School. A woman reading a newspaper on the porch found herself in a stare-down with the bear.

The by-now-familiar sound of a helicopter thrummed above as deputies and wardens from the Fish and Game Department scoured the streets looking for the bear. "They send one helicopter for traffic accidents," one resident, Pat Riner-Constantino, told The Times on Monday. "They send three for bears."

Fortunately, the Montrose bear's stroll ended peacefully. The animal was tranquilized at the intersection of Hermosa and Sunset avenues and officials loaded it into a truck and set off for an undisclosed location deep in the Angeles National Forest.

A Twitter account created for Meatball/Glen Bearian aims to help raise awareness of the dangers faced by bears that make repeated incursions into neighborhoods. If one keeps returning or harms people, it risks being euthanized.

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-- Hector Becerra

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