LEESBURG, Va. - Leesburg police said there were multiple bear sightings on Monday in the area of Battlefield Parkway, including one seen outside of an Arby's restaurant.
Police are warning residents that if they happen to encounter a bear on their property, they are urged to leave it alone and not attempt to approach it or chase it away. If they happen to climb up a tree on your property, keeping yourself or pets away is the best way to get the bear to leave on its own.
"Bears generally avoid humans, but when searching for food they sometimes wander into residential areas," Leesburg police said in a post on their Facebook page. "If bears are provided a regular food source near humans, they can cause property damage and lose their fear of people."
As bears search for food, police recommend residents to secure their garbage containers, don't feed your pets outdoors or leave pet food outside, clean outdoor grills often, pick up and remove ripe fruit from fruit trees and remove bird feeders that may attract bears.
In addition to the sightings in Virginia, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources says several bear sighting calls were reported to them as well. Two bear sighting calls were received on June 12th from the University of Maryland campus and two bear sighting calls were received on June 14th from Hyattsville. A sighting was also reported in Columbia, Md. on Tuesday.
If you do encounter a bear, contact the Department of Animal Services at 703-777-0406 or 540-882-3211.