Make your home page

Bears escape enclosure, injure owner in Putnam County

Bear escape cage, injure owner in Putnam County

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A “beary” unique call on Tuesday to Putnam County law enforcement led to officials working together to return two bears that escaped from their home near Clinton Falls.

Putnam County 911 was contacted by the owner of the bears, who reported that both had gotten out of their secured enclosure. Police say the owner was taken to the hospital for treatment after being injured by the bears, and “we’re told is okay.”

Deputies, conservation officers, city police, and other animal experts arrived at the scene to assist with returning the two bears to their enclosure.

“It’s not like a stray dog. You can’t just send one deputy out there with one of those animal catch poles. Fortunately, da bears were still inside a fenced-in area. The first concern was the possibility that the bears could easily climb the fence and escape,” said the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office in a social media post.

Officers retrieved doses of tranquilizer from a local veterinarian but, fortunately, did not need to use it when the bears decided to return to their enclosure. Once the bears were inside, law enforcement ran up to the home and locked them in.

The sheriff’s office says the bears are being cared for — and supervised — by a local exotic animal expert while the owner receives medical treatment on Wednesday.

Black bears were once common across much of Indiana, excluding the northwest portions of the state dominated by prairie. Hunting and habitat loss forced black bears to emigrate from Indiana and much of the Midwest by 1850. With black bear populations on the rise, Indiana DNR says they may pass through Indiana from other states. Four black bears have been confirmed in the Hoosier state in the last decade, most recently in 2021.