A hungry black bear helped itself to five dozen cupcakes at a Connecticut bakery in May. A worker at Taste By Spellbound, a dessert shop in Avon, was loading a delivery van in a garage at the rear of the business when she looked up to see a bear staring at her from the opposite side of the van, according to the shop’s Facebook post.
“She ran into the kitchen as fast as she could and slammed the door that goes into the loading area and held it tight,” the bakery owner wrote. “The bear then moved one of our fridges in front of the door.” After one employee called 911, another drove her car around from the front parking lot and blew the horn to scare off the bear—but not before it “destroyed 60 cupcakes and a bunch of coconut cake.” Security footage from a neighboring business recorded the entire escapade.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environment (CTDEEP) estimates there are around 1,000 to 1,200 bears in the state, and its 2022 bear report showed that human-bear conflicts are on the rise. Home entries by bears rose to 67 last year, compared to fewer than 10 in 2015, and two bear attacks were reported. In April of this year, a 74-year-old Avon woman required hospitalization after she was bitten on her arms and legs while walking her dog. The department has supported efforts to institute a limited bear season in Connecticut, which is the only state in the northeast with a breeding population of black bears that does not currently hold a hunting season.
A proposal that would have allowed CTDEEP to adopt an annual bear hunt lottery with a limit of 50 bears in the northwestern county of Litchfield was removed from legislation in March, despite strong support for a season from Gov. Ned Lamont and CTDEEP commissioner Katie Dykes. Instead, on June 2 the Connecticut General Assembly approved legislation that allows citizens to use deadly force to kill a bear that is inflicting or about to inflict bodily harm on a person or pet or that is entering an occupied building.
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Taste By Spellbound employees will likely be more vigilant when loading their delivery van in the future, but the organization seems unlikely to push for lethal black bear management anytime soon. “No bear will be harmed,” the bakery wrote in its Facebook post. “They are more scared of us than us of them. We all have had a good laugh about it at this point and think the bears are cute.”
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