A second bear attack in less than three weeks in the same New Jersey town has claimed the life of another beloved pet dog, though the owner in the latest case was not attacked like the last one.
Police in Sparta say they got a call about a bear attack before 1 a.m. Thursday from a man who said a bear had attacked his dog a few hours earlier and that the dog, a 5-year-old Yorkie named Tommy, had died. According to the owner, who lives on Layton Lane, he had let the dog out in the backyard and the dog never came back.
The owner told cops he walked out back and saw bear tracks and blood in the snow. Not far away, his beloved pet was laying mortally wounded by the woodline. He brought his pup to an animal hospital, but the dog could not be saved. The owner said he thought he saw claw marks on the dog's side, causing internal injury.
Police responded to his home Thursday and confirmed the bear tracks and blood leading to the woods. He didn't find any bear at that time. The State Fish and Game Department has been notified and will investigate the latest bear attack.
It comes after a Jan. 3 attack claimed the life of another pet dog in Sparta about 4 miles away on Echo Drive. In that case, an 81-year-old woman was attacked by a bear that killed one of her dogs when she let her pets outside after taking the garbage out. She suffered head and leg injuries and was traumatized but OK.
The woman had reported seeing two bears in that case, one of which ran into the woods when she went outside to scare them away from her animals. The other bear had stood its ground and that was the one that dragged her dog to the woodline.
Wildlife officials were called in to find the attacking bear. It wasn't clear as of Thursday if they ever found it or if it could be connected to the latest case.