In lazy days of summer, three bears and dog become unlikely TV stars

In the lazy final days of summer, three bears and a dog became unlikely stars of daytime television.

The black bears — two cubs and their mother — ventured into a Pasadena neighborhood Thursday afternoon and took a dip in a backyard pool before being chased out of the area by a family dog, authorities said. TV choppers followed the action, which was broadcast live on local and, for a while, on national cable channels. The videos also became a hit on social media.

Sheriff’s officials say they began receiving calls about the furry animals just before noon, when they wandered out of the wilderness and into a backyard in the 3200 block of Fairpoint Street, said Sheriff’s Lt. Randy Tuinstra.

The TV news broadcasting the ursine adventure showed the cubs swimming in the pool and wandering toward a dumpster. One of the cubs accidentally bumped into the home’s rear sliding-glass door, shattering it.

“It’s not unusual at all to see bear activity,” said Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. “But it’s unusual to have them in the pool.”

The mother bear appeared to be about 300 pounds, Hughan said. Her cubs “look to be pretty darn healthy too,” he said. He estimates they were born in February or March, so they’re less than a year old.

Neighborhood resident Danny Brimecombe told The Times that he spotted one of the bears in his pool and another on a planter earlier in the day and rousted them from his backyard. Half an hour later, he heard splashing and saw that they were back in the pool.

“I yelled at them, and they were in no hurry to leave,” Brimecombe said. “They were not afraid. I got them out of the yard, but they got separated and one was screaming and yelling for the other one and I got nervous. I didn’t know if the mother was around or if she’d left.”

At that point, Brimecombe said, he went back into his house.

The bears eventually moved on, venturing into at least two other backyards in the area and swimming in at least one other pool.

At one point, a dog in one of the yards — it looked like a beagle — charged at the bears and sent them scampering over the home’s walls and back into the surrounding neighborhood.

Sheriff’s deputies tracked the bears’ movements as state Fish and Wildlife wardens headed to the area to corral the animals.

“What we hope will happen is that they will just go into a tree and wait it out until dark,” Hughan said.

No injuries have been reported.

Sheriff’s deputies remained on the scene more than an hour after the bears’ first appearance, hoping the animals would head back into the hills.

“We’re trying to just let them go back up and into the hills ... back to their houses,” said Sheriff’s Sgt. Keith Gibbons as he stood on Fairpoint Street. 

Gibbons said the mother bear has been seen in the neighborhood for a couple years. 

“It’s kind of a regular thing,” Gibbons said. “They go through the trash and stuff when its trash day.”

Special correspondent Samantha Bonar contributed to this report.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

Brittny.mejia@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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UPDATES:

6 p.m: Updated with rewritten top.

2:50 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from a neighborhood resident.

2:18 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from a the sheriff’s department.

This article was originally published at 1:25 p.m.

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