Black Bear Kills Neighbor's Pet

By: Elizabeth Lamb Email
By: Elizabeth Lamb Email

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va -- Judy Lavigne's goat, Cookie, died this week in the claws of a black bear near her home in Lacey Springs.

“His claw marks are here, and he went right in and grabbed her,” said Lavigne.

She described how it felt to notice her goat was missing.

“I looked in the barn, and I got this sinking feeling that something was bad.”

It started at the barn and then the bear grabbed Cookie by the neck and bent a fence. The bear then dragged Cookie 50 feet into the woods where she died.

“That was it. It was over. It was sad because she was a pet. I'm an avid animal lover, so, it was kind of sad to see her go.”

Most experts recommend an electric fence to keep your pets safe, but Lavigne said that is not enough to keep away a 400 pound bear.

David Kocka, a biologist, said electricity scares bears and that will keep them away.

“It's a very cost-effective thing. It's long-term insurance in terms of protecting your small livestock like that,” said Kocka.

Lavigne said the bear has killed her neighbor's chickens and a calf has also disappeared. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries workers helped her track the bear.

Everyone at her farm as noticed Cookie's absence.

“It's kind of sad that she's gone. My mule is very sad, she needs a friend, because they were really close,” said Lavigne.

Lavigne hopes the bear is caught to keep other animals safe.

“I never thought that he would take my goat, never in my wildest dreams.”

Two-thousand bears are killed legally in Virginia every year and 200 of those bears come from Rockingham County.

Experts said bears are carnivores, but mostly eat plants.

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