Bear

The bear seems to have made one La Crescenta neighborhood his home. (KTLA-TV / March 29, 2012)

A black bear that continues to rummage through residential trash cans in a North Glendale hillside neighborhood is being closely monitored by California Fish and Game officials.

The latest bear sighting has some residents concerned about what could happen if it continues to visit their neighborhood, which sits along the Verdugo Mountains just south of the Foothill (210) Freeway.

“My fear is just the surprise element,” said resident Elva Sherman, who spotted the bear about 10 p.m. Tuesday walking around her Cedarbend Drive home.

Neighbors, she said, don’t want the bear — described as being at least 300 pounds — harmed, but some homeowners do want to see it pushed back into the mountains.

Other neighbors aren’t as concerned about the bear’s visit, Sherman said, because they understand that it is searching for food.

“We don’t feel like the bear is seeking us out,” she said, referring to its search for food.

A Fish and Game warden who has been monitoring the neighborhood believes there is only one bear, said Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the agency.

The bear exhibits “pretty good behavior” because it runs away when it sees residents, he added.

Since 1980, the Department of Fish and Game lists 12 recorded black bear attacks on humans, ranging from a knock-down of a camper, to the mauling of a wildlife photographer.

But Hughan said that for the most part, bears “are more afraid of you than you are of them.”

Residents first noticed the bear two weeks ago when it entered a home garage about 2:50 a.m. on Mar. 14 in the 3700 block of Beechglen Drive. The bear was after spoiled meatballs from a malfunctioning refrigerator, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

The homeowner cleared out food from the fridge and took the remnants to the dump in his pick-up truck, he said. But the bear returned the following evening and jumped into the homeowner’s truck, Lorenz added.

Police have received at least five reports of bear sightings — including of one the bear drinking from a pool and another knocking down and digging into trash cans — since the spoiled meatball incident, he said.

Before the first sighting this month, the last reported bear sighting was on Nov. 10 on Santa Carlotta Street and Glencove Avenue.

The bear likely will return to the hillside neighborhood due to warmer weather and new fruit crops, Hughan said.

He advised residents to prune all fruit trees and take extra precautions in safeguarding their trash cans. They should also spray trash cans with bleach to kill food odors.

Residents should also store trash cans inside their garages until the morning of trash pick-up days — a precaution many residents aren’t taking, officials said.

“They are living on the edge of bear country,” Hughan said. “People need to take responsibility for that bear.”