Bear concerns: Shady Valley residents say they're living in fear after a bear attack

Bear attack in Shady Valley

JOHNSON COUNTY, Tenn. - The spot where Tom Sharpe says a bear attacked his donkey is marked by a large dent in his fence, where the bear pulled the donkey over, and drug it into the woods.

"I put some hay in the fence and I didn't see him and I thought that's unusual, he wouldn't normally do that," Sharpe says.

Sharpe's home surveillance shows the bear climbing the fence, running after the 300 pound donkey, and attacking it several times before dragging it into the woods.

"This attack took place within 50 to 75 feet of our bedroom window of our house," Sharpe says.

This wasn't the first time Sharpe had seen the bear..

"Up until this week, I've been more intrigued by them than afraid of them actually," he says.

Sharpe believes his goat was also attacked and killed by a bear a few months ago. That area of Shady Valley is part of the Kettlefoot Bear Reserve. Just up the street, others have seen bears and are worried.

"We're living in fear. My neighbor is 80 years-old, she's afraid to go out the door. There's neighbors that have little children, the children are scared to death after this incident with the donkey," says Shady Valley resident, Jacqueline Baker.

These are from Baker's home surveillance cameras. She says bears have come all the way up on her porch, and one even looked through her window.

"I don't want to have to sell and move, but I'm almost to the point that there are so many bears that I can't even live here without being in fear," she says.

After the bear killed Sharpe's donkey, he's obtained a state permit to kill one black bear, if needed, up until January 6th. State wildlife officials are trying to help in other ways... issuing a statement to News Five, saying that a multi-state study is underway to estimate the bear reserve population and evaluate management plans.


"TWRA is participating in a multi-state study with North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia to estimate the black bear densities in the Southern Appalachians. Once this study is complete, we can evaluate how bear reserves fit into our future bear management plans."

In the meantime, neighbors are telling neighbors to beware of the bears.

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