Placer County deputies free bear trapped in dumpster

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PLACER COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) -- A dashcam was rolling early Monday morning when two Placer County deputies investigated a noise inside a Kings Beach dumpster.

"They walked up to the dumpster and the bear popped his head out," said Sgt. Dave Hunt. "And then they figured out that the bear was stuck inside and had to find some way of unlocking the chain to let the bear back out."

Sgt. Hunt said that kind of situation is not uncommon around Lake Tahoe.

"This time of year, every night," he told FOX40. "We're seeing a lot more activity right now."

Bear sightings are common when warm weather lasts well into fall.

"As the season gets longer and the snow doesn't arrive until late in the wintertime, you're gonna see the bears out there," Hunt said.

The Placer County Sheriff's Office said it is happy to help the bears out.

A video from August shows deputies using a ladder to give a cub the opportunity to free itself.

"The bears have been up here long before the people have," Hun explained. “It's their land."

But they wish more people would do their part to avoid attracting bears to areas populated by humans.

According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, there has never been a documented fatal black bear attack on a human in California.

While they want nothing to do with humans, they most definitely want our food.

"Put your garbage away. Don't leave it outside," Hunt said.

In the most recent case, the dumpster was locked but the bear got in through a small square opening designed for depositing trash. Deputies had to unlock the larger lid.

"Once we unlatched it, he was able to push his paws up and make his way out," Hunt said.

Hunt said deputies are familiar with the bear and call him T-shirt “because of the white patch on his chest.”

"Most of the time we just scare them away by using the horn on the vehicle," Hunt demonstrated.

Officials say people should always give a bear an escape route. But if it gets too close to a property, loud noises can be effective.

"Banging pots and pans is one way you can do it," Hunt said. "The bears are scared of you."

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