Bear Shot Dead in Upland

On Wednesday, July 29, a black bear that had been roaming around north Upland for the last couple of months, occasionally taking a dip in a backyard swimming pool, was shot and killed by a San Bernardino deputy sheriff on 24th St., up near San Antonio Heights.

This neighborhood is in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, bordering Los Angeles County, and right at the base of Mt. Baldy.

Not exactly a real rural area. but with the feel of being out in the country, and with a wonderful, panoramic view south of the Pomona Valley.

Lots of nice homes and good kids. And just down the hill a bit is a sprawl of apartments with fast food restaurants and convenience stores and busy streets, including the famous Route 66, aka Foothill Blvd.

The relatively new 210 Freeway is a wide concrete river roaring with traffic 24/7 only a few blocks south of where this bear met his tragic end.

Reading about this incident in the Daily Bulletin broke my heart.

Here’s an excerpt from the article, an eye-witness account:

“Don Caldwell, who lives a couple doors down from where the bear laid to rest, witnessed much of the incident from his driveway.

Caldwell said he saw the bear running away from the sheriff’s vehicle.

The deputy ‘took a shot at the cub and laid him down in his tracks,’ Caldwell said. ‘The bear was screaming and yelping and crying.’

The bear was shot two more times, Caldwell said.

‘I think (the deputy) had paused in between shootings and I could see he was thinking about what he was doing,’ Caldwell said. ‘I didn’t talk to the officer after that because I was highly upset.’ ”

Why did the bear have to die? I can understand if it was a gang-banger wandering up from Pomona bent on mayhem and murder or a tweeker burglar desperate for dope money or some other form of human trash–white, black, brown or purple. God knows we have plenty of those throw-away people.

To be fair, the newspaper article does say that this bear, whom some in the neighborhood nicknamed “Boo-Boo,” had been tranquilized back in June and taken 15 miles back in the San Bernardino Mountains and released. And there are children playing all over the place.

Guess the garbage can delicatessens and cool, inviting swimming pools of San Antonio Heights were irresistible, and BooBoo returned to where life was good.

It is a great place to live. You can have a sort of rural lifestyle, with all the convenience and luxuries of the suburbs and big city (LA) within an easy drive, or even a train-ride on Metro-Link. There’s a train station in downtown Upland and another a few miles west in Montclair, off Central Ave. (That’s near where I live).

My parents bought a home in 1972 just south of San Antonio Heights on North Laurel Ave., just above 19th St. We lived there for twenty-five years. My little sisters, Margie and Mary, who are all grown up now, have their names written in the cement near the backyard gate, along with the date “1972,” I think.

When my family first moved to north Upland from Pomona [lots of people fled Pomona in the late ’60s and early 70s as the demographics in Pomona changed], our home was surrounded by lemon tree groves– a sea of trees, more trees than people at that time in Upland.   We saw lots of coyotes, squirrels, owls and hawks, but never any bears that I can recall.

This incident with the poor bear’s killing, it just proves my point in a posting on this blog, Monkey Business.  That post, about my encounters with wild animals in travels through Central America, ends with this…

People and wild animals don’t mix. We don’t understand them, nor they us. We take it personal when they try to suck our blood, or eat us, or take our property.

But the animals, like some Mafia hit man, will tell you, “Hey, it’s nothing personal. It’s just business.”

For follow up on the newspaper article on BooBoo’s demise, see comments.

Oh, BooBoo, we hardly knew ye.

Oh, BooBoo, we hardly knew ye.

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4 thoughts on “Bear Shot Dead in Upland

  1. sblazak says:

    Here is some feedback on the article that ran in the Daily Bulletin about BooBoo’s death. I wish I could also post photos of BooBoo in a swimming pool that ran in the Daily Bulletin, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. The photos are just in the print version. Just as well, the photo of BooBoo in the pool would have just caused you more pain about his violent death.

    Comments from the Daily Bulletin website:

    “Booboo actually visited our backyard and damaged our fence. Our dog got loose and got the scare of her life. She was wondering around our neighborhood. We were not upset about the damage the bear had caused in our backyard (it is after all his land before the neighborhood was established). We were just glad that our dog did not get run over or lost or attacked. We were saddened to see a beautiful animal being killed. We did not know what to tell our boys when they saw all the chaos on the street.”

    “I wish someone would start legislation to make it mandatory to save the animal and relocate. This is very cruel treatment to our wildlife and this bear did not pose a problem to anyone. I hope this deputy is reprimanded for this senseless shooting. Maybe a misguided bullet in his body will teach him to not be so trigger happy. He is no hero, he’s a dope!”

    “This BROWN bear was no threat. He was in my backyard at 5:45 AM one morning. My service dog barked and I got up to see him just 10 ft. from my porch, he turned and ran off when seeing me and was probably going to run from that dim witted deputy also. Certainly he rummaged for food, it’s his nature but he didn’t need to have been killed. We are the culprits in building on their natural habitat. Send this idiot deputy back to training school. Maybe he can be taught to think before he shoots. We in the heights will miss our wandering friend. What a sad day.”

    “There is no “shoot to wound” a wild animal. This tends to p#ss them off extremely and make them much more vicious. They were waiting for the Tranq gun but unfortunately, fish and Game takes a minimum of two hours to respond, so the bear roams the streets for hours maming in the meantime? Grow up. I would rather have them put their compassion in saving my children than this stupid bear, who for you other idiots, has been relocated twice and found its way back to Upland. You don’t understand animal like this, Fish and Game policy states that if a bear is relocated and finds its way back to the same area, that means it has become acclimated to the area and far more dangerous. At that point, the bear MUST be killed, as it has shown itself to be a danger to the public. Relocate? Fine, they did that and it didn’t work. F&G policy mandates the killing of the animal after that. For the idiot that feels “sick” just thinking about this, how “sick” would you feel if the bear ate one of the children in the neighborhood? You’re so sick you would probably blame the kid for being in the way of the bears path. What a d$psh@t you are. And then Becky, what kind of moron are you, “I hold the resident that called personally responsible”. How stupid are you? You are the same type that would hold the deputies and residents responsible if no one had called and someone got hurt or killed. Grow the he11 up you Liberal animal over people loving screw balls.”

  2. Steve B. says:

    BREAKING NEWS! Saw in today’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin that there will be an information meeting with the community by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday at the Life Bible Fellowhip Church, that’s at the top of Euclid Ave. in the heart of San Antonio Heights. I will cover it and report on my blog. Let’s see how they justify shooting BooBoo. I’m keeping an open mind. Got to hear all the facts before I make up my mind. This should be an interesting meeting!

  3. Tim McCleery says:

    Capt. Mascetti from Fontana station needs to keep his cowboys under tow. This bear would still be alive if Chino hils had responded to this call. The capt . should educate himself and his people on the residents of the Heights both human and otherwise. He has already had a negative affect on the sheriff volunteer unit. Fontana might be a shoot em area but we in the heights and upland want no part of that typeof conduct. Maybe the Heights is to civilized for the Fontana station. Myself I would like to see a the deputy invoved in this transfered back to Fontana. How many times on the news have we seen both Fish and Game and law enforcement disply patience in similar situations.

  4. sblazak says:

    More bear sightings in another foothill community. What’s going on this year?

    Large bear sighted in Sierra Madre
    By Daily News wire services
    Updated: 08/24/2009 08:05:01 AM PDT

    Sierra Madre residents are keeping a wary eye out today for a bear that been making the area his own, police said.

    The bear wandered around homes in the 400 block of Lima Street near Grandview Avenue shortly after midnight Sunday, Sierra Madre police Sgt. Edward Delcoure said.

    “It was quite large,” Delcoure said.

    The bear was seen in a tree overnight, an officer said, adding that residents are keeping an eye out for it.

    The bear, which has paid several visits recently, has knocked over garbage cans while scavenging for food, Delcoure said. However, no one has been hurt.

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