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Photos: One Woman's Up-Close Encounter With A Bear

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Altadena resident Cheryl Pawelski had an unexpected close-up with a stray bear when it wandered into her yard on May 9.

It's presumably the same bear who made headlines on May 13 when it caught some unsuspecting kids in their pool, who quickly made a beeline for safety.

Pawelski didn't come that close to the bear, thankfully. The owner of Omnivore Recordings (surely, the bear would approve), shared with LAist that she hadn't heard a bear was roaming her neighborhood until it showed up in her backyard. "I'd been working all day and was on a conference call in the dining room. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted something moving, assuming it was the cat. Except the image kept getting bigger! When I looked over, I noted, uh...this moving thing is a BEAR!"

The bear would probably have taken a dip, but the cover stymied it. "It did perplex the bear who was pawing at it," Pawelski says. "It never jumped in, thankfully, just dipped its paws. That was plenty.

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"When it started pawing at the cover I yelled at it, but it paid no attention," Pawelski says. "Because our back patio is closed off with the exception of the back walkway, it started looking for a way out when it lost interest in the water. I was taking pictures and trying to get off the conference call." We'd say having a bear drop in suddenly is ample excuse to hang up on someone.

"It didn't stay long, it figured out that the rather compromised part of our fence was the way out so it went up and over." Pawelski estimates the hair-raising encounter only lasted about five minutes but by that time she'd gotten a few good snaps of the visitor.

"When I called our local police, I was told that they were tracking the movement of a mama bear and two cubs and they knew the bears were in the area and heading home into the mountain. About ten minutes later, the news trucks were in the area and the bear was on the nightly news."

She thinks it's probably the same bear that caused school lockdowns in the La Cañada/Flintridge area a few days later. "I'd imagine that it was the same mama and cubs as we're all right here along the same mountain range. [There was] certainly plenty of time to walk next door." Los Angeles Sheriff's Department tranquilized the headline-making bear on May 13.

She adds, "We've lived in Altadena since '96 and though our friends have had bears hanging out in their yards, we never had until last week. It was an interesting diversion for that afternoon, to be sure!"

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