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Bear sighted in Smyrna on Wednesday | News

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Bear sighted in Smyrna on Wednesday
News, Urban Wildlife
Bear sighted in Smyrna on Wednesday

SMYRNA, Ga. -- People see bears in the 'burbs of Metro Atlanta from time to time; now it's Smyrna's turn.

There were several sightings Wednesday morning.

Some say it's a small bear, some say it's large.

So, maybe there's more than one.

But one bear would be one too many for the bear spotters of Smyrna, who had a difficult time believing what they saw with their own eyes.

"I know I sound crazy," said one of the 911 callers, Tonya Fuller, who was thinking that maybe no one else would believe her.

"I'm pretty sure I just saw a black bear."
"A black bear?" asked the 911 operator.

Wednesday evening, Fuller pointed at the spot where she'd seen the bear that morning. She'd been walking her dog, Baxter; It was 7:00 a.m.

"And I just looked over here by this black Jeep and I saw a black bear," around the corner from her home in Smyrna.

"I was thinking, 'Am I hallucinating, am I really seeing that?'"

She was one of four people who called 911 during morning rush hour, along Highlands Parkway near South Cobb Drive and I-285.

"And I saw a bear cross the road!" said one caller.
A different 911 operator from the one who took Fuller's call also wanted to be sure: "A bear?"
"A bear!" responded the caller.

"People here just have been kind of alarmed," said Smyrna Police Officer Chris Graeff.

He said people sometimes forget that every few months someone in Metro Atlanta spots bears in the suburbs.

"Yeah, more than likely the bears are looking for food or trash."

And yes, Officer Graeff said, people should consider the bears to be dangerous, and call 911.

"People underestimate how fast a bear can actually be, and can cause some serious injury."

"We got an email, actually, sent out from our HOA," Fuller said -- "'Prepare your trash [in tight containers] and do not leave out grills and food.'"

Good advice.

Police and Georgia DNR are on the lookout for the Smyrna bear or bears.

Fuller said she was relieved Wednesday morning when the 911 operator told her she wasn't the only person who'd called in a report of a bear in that area.

"Okay, I'm not crazy, that's good!" she told the operator with a laugh.

Georgia DNR estimates the Georgia bear population is about 5,000 -- most of them NOT in Metro Atlanta.

News, Urban Wildlife

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