Multiple bear sightings reported in Fairfax County

Multiple bear sightings and even a dog that was possibly attacked by a bear in Great Falls, Va., has led Fairfax County police to set up cameras in wooded areas to try to track the bear or bears out there. FOX 5's Alexandra Limon spoke to residents who spotted a bear in their backyard and has more on what to do and what not to do if you encounter one.

Sharon Rainey, who lives in Great Falls and runs the website myneighborsnetwork.com, says a neighbor's dog survived what appears to be a bear attack. The dog was injured while the owners were on vacation.

“They took him to the vet the next morning, and when they shaved the dog, you could see that it was like the size of a huge handprint that had slashed the dog,” said Rainey. “So the vet felt very strongly that it was probably some kind of bear attack.”

And that is not the only close encounter people in Great Falls have had with a bear.

“We looked out and over there, there was a bear walking through there and walking over to our feeders,” said Mary Stennett, another Great Falls resident.

“It was kind of just odd,” said said Jordan Lane. “You just don’t see a bear in Fairfax County roaming around in your backyard. So it was a bit of a stun.”

Fairfax County Police have these safety recommendations when encountering a bear:

- Keep a respectful distance
- Make sure to secure your trash or contain it in an animal-proof dumpster
- Do not leave pet food outside
- Take down your birdfeeder after a bear visits
- Leash walk pets and do not leave them unattended outside

Stennett and Lane snapped a picture after a black bear that wandered through their backyard Sunday morning. Then they tried to shoo the bear away.

“So I came outside and I started clapping at him and saying get out of here,” said Stennett. “And he moseyed on over through the neighbor’s yard.”

That possible bear attack and reports of multiple sightings in the area prompted Fairfax County Police to put up cameras in wooded areas around Riverbend Park on Thursday. They say the cameras are simply to track bears or other wildlife activity.

For now, they are not attempting to capture or relocate any animals.

They add that black bears don't typically attack dogs and usually are not confrontational.

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