As snow was piling up across Douglas County late Friday night, a Douglasville woman spotted what she believed to be a bear running across her yard.
Jessica Mendoza, who lives on Knollwood Circle in the Arbor Station subdivision, said she looked out her window and saw something big walking around.
“I got up and got closer to the window and saw it was a bear,” she said.
Mendoza called 911 and Douglasville police dispatched officers to check things out.
Maj. J.R. Davidson said Mendoza was the only person to report the bear spotting and that officers who went out to investigate never actually saw the bear with their own eyes.
But officers did see what appeared to be a bear paw print in the snow and they took pictures.
Rick Martin, spokesman for Douglas County, tweeted out one of those pictures of the paw print and proclaimed: “Bear sighting call is believed to be legit.”
When news got out on the Sentinel Facebook page of the bear sighting in the early hours of Saturday morning, Mendoza quickly posted a 5 second video which almost certainly confirms that it was a bear she saw.
Davidson said while he can remember a loose bull and an emu, he’s never heard of a bear sighting in Douglasville in his 22 years at the police department.
He said if officers had seen the bear, they would have left it alone.
“You don’t want to make a bear mad,” Davidson said. “It’s just part of nature. … If the bear was like attacking somebody, we would do something then. But if it’s just a bear walking around, we’re not going to try to catch it or anything. We don’t do that.”
Frances McMillan, animal services director for Douglas County, said bears are in the area, but it’s not common to see them. McMillan advised residents not to leave items out that would attract bears like trash, cat or dog food, or bird seed.
“They usually are just moving through,” McMillan said.