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Why Is 2013 Becoming ‘Year Of The Bear’?

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DUARTE (CBSLA.com) — Bears are visiting homes — make that entering homes — like never before.

They’re hungry and making it clear that kitchen doors are not going to stop them.

Bears have been making a habit, of late, of helping themselves to meatballs, peaches, banana bread. You leave it out, they’re eating it.

And several homeowners have come literally nose-to-nose with the bears.

CBS2’s Bobby Kaple went in search of the reason why this is becoming “Year of the Bear.”

“Oh my God! There’s bear in my house … inside my house… inside my house!” said a frantic Duarte woman to a 911 dispatcher

The dispatcher asks calmly, “You actually saw him inside the house?” The woman replies, “Yes, and I ran back upstairs cause if I went out the door, he would have come after me.”

The woman’s neighbor, Annie Berberian, said she heard the screams. “I heard her scream, ‘Oh my God, oh my God!”

The bear entered through an open window. He pushed a screen in. Berberian added, “He went from kitchen, he went downstairs and dining room. She was upstairs.”

The Duarte incident is just the latest in a series of bear encounters in the Southland. Chopper 2 was overhead Wednesday when a cub cruised the streets of Sun Valley, apparently in search of a meal.

Game wardens said that particular bear was a repeat visitor to the neighborhood. The ended up shooting the 3-year-old with a tranquilizer dart before putting him onto a truck bed and taking him back into the Angeles National Forest.

Warden J. C. Healy said, “This was a bear we tagged about two weeks ago in Santa Clarita. This time of year, these guys are moving around a lot, they’re looking for food, looking for water.”

On Tuesday, police used loud sirens to try and scare yet another bear back into the mountains in Arcadia.

These sightings follow recent incidents in Altadena and La Crescenta. In one of those cases, a homeowner entered her kitchen to find a bear eating peaches off her kitchen counter.

That homeowner calmly told the 911 dispatcher, “I don’t really have a problem with him, but I don’t want him in my house either.”

The 911 dispatcher said, “Well, yeah. Of course.”

Officials with Fish and Game say keep garbage cans secure, don’t put your trash out until the morning of collection. And officials say if you have fruit trees to be sure to pick up fruit that lands on the ground — that can be a tempting snack to unwanted house guests.

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