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Connecticut lawmakers approve bear defense bill after bakery break-in

Bear encounters are a growing problem in Connecticut. Lawmakers passed a bill just days after a bear broke into a bakery.
Connecticut lawmakers approve bear defense bill after bakery break-in
Posted at 11:30 AM, Jun 05, 2023

Lawmakers in Connecticut approved legislation that would permit the use of deadly force against bears for self-defense. 

The bill passed the state’s House of Representatives last week 101 to 45. It previously passed the Senate by a 31-3 ledger. The bill now heads to Gov. Ned Lamont for his signature. 

The bill would authorize the killing of bears that cause harm to a person or pet or that enter an occupied building. It also provides for an annual bear hunt season in Litchfield County and prohibits the intentional and unintentional feeding of potentially dangerous animals.

“We, as residents, need to do a better job scaring bears away — it’s because of their level of comfort with us as we take cute photos and videos of them that is contributing to the issue of more bear and human conflicts,” said Rep. Eleni Kavros DeGraw, one of the sponsors of the bill.

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She pointed to a report that indicated an increase in bear encounters in Connecticut. According to state data, the number of bear attempted entries into homes went from fewer than 10 in 2014 and 2015 to over 60 in 2022. 

Although some towns have local ordinances, there is no statewide law that prohibits the public from feeding bears. Intentional feeding of bears, plus the unintentional feeding of bears through trash or bird feeders has caused an increase in human-bear conflict, officials say. 

The passage of the bill comes weeks after a bear reportedly entered a bakery in Avon, Connecticut, taking dozens of cupcakes.


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