The Fittest.

The residents of Claysburg, PA got angry because police killed a bear in their neighborhood. Not angry because shots were fired in their vicinity. Angry because a BEAR DIED, YOU GUYS!

The bear ended up climbing a tree. The crowd started forming and didn’t heed a neighbor’s request to leave, Ms. Weyandt said.

Authorities used a tranquilizer dart and the bear came down, but the animal then started running. Greenfield Township police officers fired, killing the animal.

One witness videotaped the encounter and distributed the footage to local television stations. It shows the bear running away as police open fire and people in the crowd scream; several people then try to confront the officers.

Dear Doofi of Claysburg, PA:

So a bear died. Boo-frickin’-hoo. If this bear had been behind the gates at the Zoo, minding its own business, playing with its beach ball, frolicking in the pond and someone shot it, fine raise your fists and your voices in anger.

If this bear had been in the woods, catching some fish and hoping it doesn’t get hell from the wife bear when it comes home late, and BLAM! he’s shot in the head, fine, raise your animal-rights fists and your shrill voices in anger.

This bear here, though? Running through your neighborhood all amok and shit and you are angry about it getting killed? A bear that not only ran amok but continued to run amok AFTER being shot with a tranquilizer? A bear you decided to sit around and watch run amok, not even a little bit fearing for your lives?

You are aware, please tell me, doofi, that bears are dangerous, known to rip a man limb from limb? They’re big, they’re not domesticated, they have teeth like blades and jaws stronger than Steely McBeam’s. They are not the kind lovely cuddly bears you’ve become associated with in the Jungle Book (which, Jason Scott Lee … HOT!). This was not Winnie the Pooh prancing away looking for his lost friend Eeyore because he hasn’t yet shown up for Tigger’s “Happy Summer and Silly Hats” party.

This was a bear bear. And you are aware, are you not, that bears are especially dangerous when scared and that 150-200 people milling around because they refused to obey an order to leave probably scared the bear enough to make his adrenaline overpower the tranq and make him take off running again, which resulted in his death?

It’s the bear’s fault for running through a neighborhood full of people that it could kill at anytime if it so desired and it’s your fault for refusing to leave when you were asked. The police did their job, which is to protect you and your children from harm. This harm didn’t come in the form of a rapist or a murderer, but rather in the form of a dangerous and very scared animal, and getting all bent out of shape because of the manner they chose to protect you in the heat of the moment makes the term doofi so very very appropriate.

A bear can run 40 miles per hour. The average human sprints at 11 miles per hour. It’s survival of the fittest, dudes, and the bear is way more fit than you. What if the bear left and then came back? And what if it saw a child riding a bike and decided that the child was a threat?

Well … lucky for us. We have guns.




  1. joey
    June 24, 2008 9:34 am

    Pittgirl, they were pissed because the bear was not a threat at the time that it was shot.

    According to witnesses, the bear came down from the tree and ran into the corner of the warehouse. They said that’s when police started firing. The bear then took off for the woods, and witnesses claimed the cops kept shooting until the bear was dead.

    Cops started shooting the bear over in a corner of the McCabe’s Trucking Company warehouse because they were afraid it would be a threat to people standing nearby… but the crowd was all the way over on the road, far away from where the bear was being shot.

    “He wasn’t coming towards the crowd,” Slagenweit said. “

    It could have been handled better. And you need to remember…this is Claysburg, PA…these people are hunters and understand hunting…and even they were pissed. That should tell you something.

  2. In Sewickley
    June 24, 2008 9:44 am



    BooBoo didn’t need to die!

  3. Matt
    June 24, 2008 9:48 am

    Joey is right. All the cops needed to do was fire a warning shot into the air and the bear would have run away. One of the main reasons bears climb trees is because they are scared and are trying to get away from something. In fact, when you’re hiking through the woods, you’re supposed to make a lot of noise because black bears will run away from the noise. Black bears RARELY ever attack people. The cops definitely used excessive force (surprise surprise). If you watch the video, the bear is running for the woods while the cops are still firing off the the 20 some rounds they shot.

  4. Matt
    June 24, 2008 9:51 am

    Also, I love that “News” organizations say there’s a video but never post them.

  5. BobM
    June 24, 2008 9:52 am

    Claysburg is a rustic, rural community (where the strumming of a banjo from the forest is NOT your imagination) whose residents are rightfully upset over how the event was handled. That’s one less bear one of them can shoot come Bear Season in December!
    And remember, bears are useful to the environment. They not only eat grubs and berries, bears also enjoy a little protein now and again, and would gladly dine on a diet of freshly slaughtered pigeons.

  6. Go Daddy
    June 24, 2008 10:01 am

    You are aware that Claysburg PA is about as rural as you can get in the Eastern part of the United States, right? This is not a bear running through Shady Side (or even Bedford), but a bear basically in its natural habitat. Why not fire a few more darts before killing the bear? Oh, I know, because most cops, especially rural cops, have the intelligence of pigeons.

  7. pittgirl
    June 24, 2008 10:02 am

    150 to 200 people milling about? This was a neighborhood.

  8. MH
    June 24, 2008 10:06 am

    If there were 150 people around, it doesn’t matter if the bear is faster than you. You just have to be faster than one of the other 149.

  9. pittgirl
    June 24, 2008 10:10 am


  10. Dan (Not Onarato)
    June 24, 2008 10:12 am

    Sorry PG gotta disagree with you on this one. The bear was just tranquilized and within a few minutes it would have been out cold.

    They could have tagged it and transferred it out in the middle of Nowheresville and let it go.

    Maybe Im getting softer in my old age.

    I agree MH, you just have to be faster than the slowest guy

  11. Nel
    June 24, 2008 10:14 am

    What if it were a white bear?
    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  12. Lyon Advocate
    June 24, 2008 10:19 am

    If it was a white bear, then I would urge all of the “neighbors” to immediately vacate the Polar Bear exhibit at the PPG Aquarium.

  13. Maria
    June 24, 2008 10:42 am

    My hometown isn’t far from Claysburg. What you have to understand is that yes, while the bear was in a neighborhood, these people respect the fact that they live in Pennsyltucky. A bear in the backyard isn’t an uncommon sight. If my dad had shot every bear that got into my mother’s birdfeeders, he would have a lot of dead bears on his hands.

    The police overreacted. The bear wasn’t in the process of ripping someone’s face off. Hell, it wasn’t even threatening to rip anyone’s face off. It was scared and had a lot of adrenaline pumping though its system. Another tranquilizer probably would have done the trick.

  14. SeanCollier
    June 24, 2008 10:44 am

    PG, I’m with you.

    The key item here – the police told the crowds to go home and get away from the bear and the guns several times. If it were Downtown and the cops said “You leave” and you said “I’ma keep starin’ at this!” you’d go to jail. Right or wrong, you’d go to jail.

    The police said that, furthermore, if the people HAD left, they wouldn’t have opened fire, but, because of the speed of bears, the bear could’ve been on the crowd in five seconds or less. A crowd that contained lots and lots of children of stupid, stupid parents who hear “BEARS AND GUNS” and think “LET’S BRING THE KIDS!”

    Crowd of people – it is your fault that the bear is dead. Good work!

  15. Monty
    June 24, 2008 11:04 am

    People > bears.

  16. TBD
    June 24, 2008 11:10 am

    Nel – shouldn’t it have been an “African American” bear? ;-)

    People and wild animals. People are idiots. I’ve seen people with kids in tow in multiple national parks out west getting WAY too close to the bears and other big things that just want to get on with their life but are big enough to hurt you. Best was a stupid beoch we were YELLING at to move she realized there was a bear not 10-15 feet away and closing from her side. Did she move away and tell her children to get clear? Heck no. Hey look at this nice close picture of the bear I got… It should have eaten her. It only got to chew on her water bottle then discovered water and plastic aren’t tasty.

  17. retiredguy
    June 24, 2008 11:44 am

    SeanCollier, I have to agree with you. All the “concerned citizen”, armchair quarterbacks bear (no pun intended)the brunt of the responsibility for this animal being destroyed.

    If they had left when they were instructed to, the police would not have had to shoot since they would not have been worried about somebody in the crowd being mauled, then complaining about the police “allowing” the bear to maul them.

    People just have to stick around and tell the police their job.

    Hey folks. It’s a bear. Pennsylvania has bunches of them. We even have a hunting season for them.

  18. JP
    June 24, 2008 11:54 am

    Nobody had to shoot anything; just a bunch of under-trained officers afraid of being held responsible if somebody was hurt no matter how unlikely. At the same time it is not exactly the end of the world that a bear cub was shot. It happens all the time here in the cradle of Appalachia

  19. Lyon Advocate
    June 24, 2008 12:02 pm

    I can’t believe it took me so long to make this connection, but it is clear: PittGirl = Stephen Colbert. Mystery solved.

  20. JamieO
    June 24, 2008 12:32 pm

    PittGirl, love your blog, but I gotta disagree here as well.

    I live about 40 miles from the place, and went through there a few years ago while returning from a fishing trip with friends. It’s not a big town, really, so neighborhood is a bit of a stretch.

    If you watch the Youtube video, the bear isn’t running toward the crowd, it’s heading toward the woods. The bear was not a danger to anyone. And yes, bears are animals who should not be taken lightly, but take it from someone who spends a lot of time outdoors – every time I have encountered one, they are not interested in dealing with you. They run. There are so many ridiculous views on how bears behave in the wild on both ends of the spectrum I have to shake my head. They are not cuddly lovie-dovies, nor are they vicious man-eaters. They are wild animals who will attack when cornered like any other animal.

    There was no reason to shoot the bear. It was already tranquilized, and running away.

    Also, calling these people “animal rights” supporters is like calling you a pigeon-loving shoe hater, PittGirl. Again, look at the video. Thems good-old boys who are also hunters, not granola-crunching hippies who think every bear is named Teddy. Despite some views on hunters that are as laughable as some views on bears, they are not all blood-thirsty idiots who kill anything for the hell of it. Many are true sportsmen who do not believe it is right to kill an animal without reason (such as eating, and yes, you can eat bear).

    So, the police did make a mistake here. As for it being a huge deal, not really. But they were wrong.

  21. JamieO
    June 24, 2008 12:35 pm

    And besides, that was a cellphone in the bear’s hand, not a gun.

    Okay, I better stop.

  22. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    June 24, 2008 1:12 pm

    Pitt Girl, I’m on your side. I can only imagine what the reaction would have been had the police, acting at the direction of the PA Game Commission, not shot the bear and someone in crowd got injured or worse yet, killed. Ok, I know what it would have been — Why didn’t you dumb ass cops do something to protect the people? My lawyer will be in touch. Don’t you know bears are wild ANIMALS!!!!

  23. joey
    June 24, 2008 1:45 pm

    JamieO…LOL…nice reference. Are you the JamieO from Eastern Weather?

    Ex-Pat: If’s and but’s…unfortunately, ifs and buts don’t supplant actual facts.

  24. John
    June 24, 2008 1:46 pm

    Not sure what to make of this. While driving home on Business 60 Sunday night, I saw a bear run across the road and jump over a guard rail to parts unknown. I’ve lived in this area for 36 years, and that was the first bear I’d ever seen in the wild. Luckily for me, it was on the other side of the road. Anyway, the situation probably could have been handled better, but… IT’S A BEAR! Scared or not, it’s still a wild animal that’ll rip your lungs out, Jim. I’m just sayin’…

  25. Jeff
    June 24, 2008 1:53 pm

    Thank you! When I saw this news story I was pissed! Are these people serious? People are missing the fact that it was a 250 lb black bear. They hit it with a ton of tranquilizer and the bear still wasn’t coming down. There have been many cases showing that when bears get excited, the tranquilizers have little to no effect. You’re also right about the crowd. If they had dispersed, the bear probably would not have been shot. In my opinion, they made the right call. Wild animals are unpredictable. They couldn’t take a chance with all of those people/children hanging around.

  26. Kelli
    June 24, 2008 2:18 pm

    Hey, these folks got off easy – they didn’t listen to the cops and the bear got shot.

    Here in the city, if you don’t listen to the cops, you get shot.

    I don’t think those cops were idiots. But they weighed their options and did what they had to do for public safety. Honestly, I don’t see much difference in this than on some of PittGirl’s posts on police-related shootings in the city.

    Basically, if you don’t follow instructions by police, bad things can and do happen.

  27. Magnus Patris
    June 24, 2008 2:25 pm

    First off; “Doofi” Tee-hee-hee! Second, as my friend Lefty McMauledface once said to me while staring at me with his one good eye, and shaking all 3 fingers on his hand, “Leave dem behrs alone, yunz guys!”

  28. Burgh Baby
    June 24, 2008 2:30 pm

    Somebody needs to dress Steely McBeam in a bear costume and send him out to check the scene.

  29. cityworker
    June 24, 2008 2:42 pm

    ok, here is the thing, if these people are such great hunters, and live in the wilderness, etc., why call the cops when a bear shows up? either kill it yourself or ignore it because you live in the wilderness and the bear is really your friend who you will let in your home and have a great time with.

    these people called the police on the bear because it was a threat to them. the police handled the threat and now they complain that the police killed it? HELLO!!!??? what did you think the police were going to do, bring out a bouncing ball and have the bear do tricks for everyone?

    also, obviously the bear was not afraid of people or it would have scurried back into the forest once the 150 people showed up. who is to say the bear would not have come back and decided to snack on little timmy. if that did happen, all these people would now be saying, we called the police to handle the situation, they let the bear go, now timmy is dead. BLAME THE POLICE!!!!!

  30. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    June 24, 2008 3:45 pm

    Right on cityworker! Watch out though, Joey’s going to throw the If’s and But’s line out there. ;)

  31. Bram R
    June 24, 2008 3:48 pm

    First off, the article says it was a NEIGHBOR who asked the crowd to leave, not the police. In the video, it sure sounded like police only warned people to “back up” or “get back” ONCE THE BEAR HIT THE GROUND; they didn’t seem remotely concerned about folks crowding near the tree in order to watch them tranq the bear. If the police had intended for the crowd to disperse, they certainly could have made a bigger statement about that, and there was none.

    Now. It certainly looked like the bear was running away and into the woods as it was fired upon, and I don’t much see the utility of executing a bear that *had been* in a neighborhood. If it had been running in the direction of anybody, surely the police would not have opened fire.

    Then again, by the end of the video, it becomes clear that the cops almost hit a propane tank and a propane line, so it’s hard to say.

    Bottom line: it could have been handled A LOT better. I’m not fired up to see anybody lose their jobs over this, because the officers were responding to an unusual situation and erred in good faith on the side of protecting human beings, but it would be nice to see a statement of This Is How To Handle This Shit In the Future.

  32. PittinDC
    June 24, 2008 4:06 pm

    Bears get in neighborhoods in Maryland and Virgina all the time, and the cops shoot the bear then too, and no one seems to care that the bear is dead. So maybe the cops WERE following the protocol for bear in a neighborhood (or, if not a neighborhood, bear in an area where people are standing around watching). Also, why are these people just hanging out and watching a bear? If I saw a bear, I’m pretty sure I’d run the other way!! Then again, no one has ever mistaken me for a country girl:)

  33. Still A Fan
    June 24, 2008 7:05 pm

    i cannot believe Still A Dad hasn’t weighed in here yet. On Friday night….near Somerset….we sat waiting for his almost daily visitor because I have never seen a wild bear and I would like to. His is a mother and two two-year-old cubs. They are split up now and you never know which one is going to come along for the low hanging fruit….er bird feeder. Of course we were inside, but I am fascinated by the fact that a bear has taken up residence very close to his property. Of course, he does live at elevation 2700 in the mountains. I think he was running away and was only up the tree in the first place because of fear….but like it’s been stated here….if Yogi turned on the crowd and decided to maul a little one, the officers would have been fired for that as well. This was a no win sitchiation for those involved. Would I like to see one in the wild? Yes. Do I want one within 100 yards of my daughter outside of a cage? Nope. Wouldn’t even think about it. Does Still A Dad have a .357 handy? Yup. Wow. I am so in the middle on this one.

  34. Steeler_tom
    June 24, 2008 7:22 pm

    Bears taste better ‘n pigeons

  35. Mikey
    June 24, 2008 8:26 pm

    TOTALLY AGREE 100% with you on this one. We ripped on this on our show the other morning. I can’t believe people were sad that they shot the damn bear.

    The one lady actually said “I took my Grandson down because he wanted to see the bear…they didn’t have to shoot it”.

    Hmmmm, let’s weigh our options here…shoot the bear or bear eats Grandson…hmmmmm….

    Nice post!

  36. Rachel
    June 25, 2008 8:00 am

    What if the cops had fired a warning shot only to have the bear turn in fear and chew somebody’s face off? Then the officers would have been in trouble for not shooting it FAST ENOUGH. The police did everything they were supposed to.

    And incidentally: the bear knew to get away from the crowd, but the crowd didn’t know enough to get away from the bear? Remarkable.

  37. JamieO
    June 25, 2008 8:08 am

    There are a lot of people in this thread who appear to not understand wildlife behavior and are as bad as those who think every bear is a cute Disney character.


    You obviously are not aware of hunting laws, based on your comment “ok, here is the thing, if these people are such great hunters, and live in the wilderness, etc., why call the cops when a bear shows up?”

    It’s illegal to shoot a bear out of season, even if you have a hunting license. You can only shoot a bear if it DIRECTLY THREATENS you, i.e., charges you or has your kid cornered.

    Not to mention someone shooting at a bear in a town, no matter how small, is going to present a much greater danger than the bear itself. Again, this doesn’t seem to be sinking in, so come here, let me see your ear a second…..


    So a bunch of well-meaning people shooting at a bear with houses nearby is more dangerous than the bear.

    Also, the bear was up a tree, something they do when frightened, so the bear was in fact afraid of all the people. They tend to fear humans; and will avoid them. That’s why you don’t bath before hunting and wear scents; you have a much better chance of bagging one. They will wander into a town looking for food, but will get out as soon as they see humans. When I lived in a town up here called Bellefonte when we first moved here, one wandered into town one day four years ago. People saw it and of course got excited and yelled there was a bear. The bear took off running and made it back into a wooded area by the time police arrived.

    And to make it clear, if the bear turned and charged the crowd, nail it. But my final point is most important – with a clear escape opportunity and that many people standing there, everything that is known about the black bear, including NO incident of a bear charging a crowd of people, indicates the bear was going to bumrush the crowd. Disagreeing with this only demonstrates a lack of knowledge.

    And for something that PittGirl can definitely agree with, I close with this:

  38. Zsa
    June 25, 2008 11:53 am

    Bear of color?

    I thought I was the only one who said “doofi” as plural of doofus.