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'Glendale bear' likes meatballs -- and swimming, too?

June 25, 2012 |  1:29 pm

The 400-pound black bear known to some as Meatball and on Twitter as Glen Bearian wandered through a La Crescenta backyard Thursday.

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details. 

Being a black bear in the summer heat can present its challenges.

That’s why La Crescenta resident Kelly MacDonald thinks the bear that roamed into her yard on Thursday may have tried to cool down in the family pool.

She said she can’t be sure, but after looking at her photos she thinks the bear’s fur was wet. So chalk up swimming as another preferred activity for the ursine known in some quarters as Meatball and on Twitter as Glen Bearian.

“He probably hopped in the pool,” MacDonald said Monday, a few days after her bear encounter. “It was hot that day, maybe he was looking for a swim.

“We also have had evidence of bear droppings in our Jacuzzi before,” she added, “that only a bear could do.”

MacDonald, a 26-year-old graphic designer, has garnered plenty of attention since she photographed a bear with an orange ear tag. Officials with the California Fish and Game Department have confirmed that the bear in MacDonald’s backyard Thursday afternoon was the same bear that they tranquilized in April after he made several weekly visits to the area.

She said she and her family members were too excited taking pictures Thursday to initially take note of the bear’s special ear tag. Only later, she said, “We thought about it a little bit and thought, ‘Hey, maybe this is Meatball.’”

MacDonald said she discovered the bear around noon Thursday when her dog started barking in an unusual way. When she peered through a gate she saw the bear. Amid all the ensuing yelling and commotion, she said her mother momentarily thought someone had been bitten by a rattlesnake --  which MacDonald said has happened to a family dog before.

The house, which runs up against the Angeles National Forest, has been previously visited by a mountain lion, coyotes, a bobcat, and at least one other bear, MacDonald said. But his was the first time the family got such a good look, although MacDonald said she had followed the truck that transported the bear into the forest the day he was tranquilized.

“Right there by our pool was the bear. I didn’t know what bear,” she said. “We were just kind of in awe.”

After about 10 minutes, she said the bear scaled the family fence and scampered away.

“I do hope he stays out of trouble. Hopefully he keeps a low profile,” MacDonald said.  

“I think its fun for the town. Hopefully it stays fun.”

[For the record, 4:58 p.m. Monday: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that a family member had been bitten by a rattlesnake. A family dog was bitten.]


Tranquilizer darts fired at bear

Undeterred by freeway, bear returns to Glendale area 

Baklava bear may have returned for Glendale trash day 

-- Matt Stevens


Photo: The 400-pound black bear known to some as Meatball and on Twitter as Glen Bearian wandered through a La Crescenta backyard Thursday. Credit: Kelly and Kathleen MacDonald