Though Meatball, the celebrity foothills bear, has moved on, La Cañada Flintridge residents aren't lacking for ursine encounters.
Christina and Jaime Corvalan found that out Saturday night when the security system at the couple's Hampstead Road home caught footage of a large black bear prowling their property before raiding their trash bins for a late-night snack.
Christina Corvalan said she and her husband heard a commotion outside at around 10:30 p.m., then saw on their multi-camera home security system that they had an unexpected visitor.
“We've never seen a bear in the area before … and this is a really big bear,” she said.
In the footage, the bear can be seen coming onto the property from an adjacent wooded area.
The bear prowled the perimeter of the house once before knocking over the Corvalans' city-issued plastic trash bin and chowing down.
The home is about 11/2 miles from Pomander Place, where a similarly trash-minded black bear was spotted twice in July.
Janice Mackey, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Fish and Game, said residents can prevent city-issued garbage bins from becoming bear lunch boxes by cleaning the bins with bleach or ammonia.
“It's always a smell factor,” she said, adding that residents can also take more drastic action.
“They do have bear-proof trash cans and containers,” she said. “And up in Tahoe they use hot wire.”
Mackey said that if La Cañadans don't want to ring their property with hot wire — electric fencing tied to an alarm system — then keeping bins clean is the best recourse.
“If people are diligent about their garbage and their barbecues, everybody can live harmoniously,” she said.
Lt. Elizabeth Sachs of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station said deputies weren't dispatched to the Corvalan's home because they weren't alerted until the bear had moved on. She said residents who spot a bear should call the station so the sheriff's department can send officers or contact Fish and Game.
Christina Corvalan said that she and her husband didn't want to risk going outside on Saturday night, but do want other families in the area to be on the lookout.
“It was pretty much of a mess. We were afraid,” said Christina Corvalan. “[Our neighbors] have children that go in the pool two doors over, so I just want the neighbors to know.”