Bear known as ‘Hank the Tank’ breaks into home
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, California (KOVR) — A wild 500-pound bear broke into a home in South Lake Tahoe and this isn’t the first time, police said.
This bear has broken into dozens of homes and has become quite a problem for locals.
Known as “Hank the Tank,” the locals are contemplating whether or not to have the bear killed as they believe it may be the only option at this point.
He’s well-known and now wanted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. A spokesperson said the bear has damaged dozens of homes and is responsible for more than 150 calls.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife has been trying to track Hank for more than 6 months.
“These are neighborhoods, there’s a lot of people around, traffic and cars. So, we have to do this in a way that is safe for both the public and the bear itself,” explained spokesperson Peter Tira. “This is a severely food habituated bear. What that means is this is a bear that has lost all fear of people and it sees people and homes as a source of food.”
“I’m tired of having to fear our lives quite frankly because of what the bear may or may not do,” explained Bridget Marchetti Philip.
Philip and her family own a home from across the street where Hank was last seen on Catalina Drive. Her brother-in-law, John Barrett, explained he is worried for their kids.
The most recent break-in took place on Catalina Drive Friday morning when police responded to reports of Hank inside a house.
The bear had broken a small window and squeezed into the home where the homeowners had no idea how to get him out.
Officers responded and banged on the outside of the house until Hank came out the back door. They then stayed in the area to ensure he continued on his way without damaging or entering other homes.
“We have to be able to protect our children and be able to walk outside of our house,” he said.
Other neighbors while not as concerned are still taking extra precautions.
“I’ve been in town 40 years and I’ve been locking my doors recently and I’ve never done that,” explained Tim Johnson. “The more we don’t feed them, the more this isn’t going to be the case.”
Killing it is a move the Bear league calls cruel and unnecessary.
“We don’t want anybody to get hurt. Nobody wants that,” one person said. “We don’t want the bear to die either.”
The Bear League said it’s still waiting to hear back from Fish and Wildlife about a possible sanctuary move. Meanwhile, a meeting on the issue is set for Wednesday night in Tahoe Keys.
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