Saugerties, New York

From the Kingston Daily Freeman of November 5, 2007

Bear, dogs scuffle in Saugerties

Thinking his home was being burglarized, a Saugerties man came face-to-face with a black bear early Sunday morning before his dogs came to the rescue.

Daniel Kelly, of Valk Road in Saugerties, said he and his wife awoke at approximately 2:15 a.m. Sunday to a neighbor’s dog barking and considerable noise in his back yard. Kelly opened his back door where the bear stood a few feet away. Without the aid of his glasses, Kelly thought it was a burglar and yelled at the figure.

Luckily, his two 50-pound chow-chow dogs realized this was no burglar and attacked the bear, wrestling with it for close to 20 minutes. Somehow in the struggle between dog and bear, Kelly was blocked from his back door and could not get back in the house.

At one point, he said, the bear tried to climb over the 6-foot fence in his yard, only to be pulled back into the yard by his normally docile dogs. Kelly, who estimated the bear to be slightly taller than his 5-foot 7-inch frame and over 150 pounds, was eventually able to get back in the house and retrieve his 12-gauge shotgun. His wife called 911.

Kelly, who hadn’t fired a gun in 20 years, went back to aid his dogs and once again got too close. The bear again took a swipe at him from close-range before he fired a warning shot. This was enough to scare the bear up a tree. Kelly said the bear, which he had no interest in killing, left soon thereafter.

Kelly, who said he half-expected to have to put one of his dogs out if its misery with his gun, was shocked to find them in perfect condition, minus a scratch to one dog’s hind-quarters.

Saugerties police responded not long after the bear left. Kelly said Saugerties police also called for the Department of Environmental Conservation, but they never arrived.

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