Northern California bear euthanized after it broke into homes, tried to enter school gym

A bear that authorities said was constantly breaking into homes and businesses in a Northern California town, creating havoc and endangering residents, was euthanized Wednesday after the animal tried to break into a school’s gymnasium.

Since early May, Downieville residents have flooded the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office with daily calls about at least one bear forcing itself into people’s homes, a news release said.

In response, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife issued depredation permits to residents, and federal officials deployed a “live trap” near a home repeatedly targeted by the bear, deputies said.

The bear persisted.

Wednesday marked a critical point in authorities’ safety efforts when the animal tried to break into Downieville School’s gymnasium. The bear failed to enter the gym and broke into a nearby home. The resident of the home encountered the bear, which took off and tried to enter another home before deputies intervened.

“Given the escalating danger posed by the bear’s behavior and the imminent threat it presented to residents, deputies were left with no choice but to euthanize the bear in the interest of public safety,” the release said.

Sierra County Sheriff Mike Fisher said the recent incidents were the work of a lone bear.

Downieville, the county seat with fewer than 150 residents, lies deep in the Tahoe National Forest’s northern tier and is about 75 miles northeast of Sacramento.