Neighborhood on alert after bear sighting, animals attacked

Families along Winston Road here in Estill County aren't taking any chances when it comes to the safety of their children after they say several animals were attacked by a bear.

Sarah Baxley is keeping a much closer eye on her kids after she says a bear tried to force its way into her basement.

"He just kept banging on the door," she said.

The family caught a glimpse of the bear through the window and eventually, the family dog, Hank, jumped into action.

"I could see it and it's a little bigger than Hank, not much. But it was really booking it and Hank was hot on its trail," said Baxley.

Sarah says the bear has killed the family's pet rabbit. They were able to collect fur they say the bear left behind. Across the road, they say a bear killed a pet rabbit in a cage and a goat tied to a nearby tree. She says her main concern now is her childrens' safety.

"It wants food, it's going to get food, but what if my son's in the way," said Baxley.

John Merritt says his son loves to play in the woods, but now he's restricted to the playset.

"You never know when a bear's going to come around or how fast it'll be around," said Merritt.

Wildlife officials tell us the bear population has grown over the past 25 years, but people here say those bears aren't welcome in their backyards.

"Put it out somewhere where it can kill as much as it wants where it's not around neighborhoods and families," said Baxley.

Officials with the Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife tell us, in addition to that population expansion, the bears have also been pushed into newer areas because of the dry conditions.

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