Police issued a reverse 911 call just before 1 p.m. today alerting residents that a black bear was seen in the South Street, Granite Street, Indian Hill Road and Orchard Street areas of Medfield.
Chief Robert E. Meaney Jr. warned pet owners to take caution of their domestic animals, particularly dogs, and not to go near or follow the bear if they see it.
“We have been in contact with the Massachusetts Environmental Police. Their advice is to leave the animal alone…The bear wants to be left alone and in most situations will fade back into the woods,” he said in the recorded message.
He said that following the animal in an attempt to provide location updates is not advised as it could stress the animal and could force it into traffic where it could be injured.
He directed residents to the Massachusetts Wildlife website for more information regarding black bears in Massachusetts.
A MassWildlife chart under “Frequently Asked Questions,” says the average male black bear in Massachusetts is 57 inches tall and weighs 229 pounds; the average female is 51 inches tall and weighs 139.
MassWildlife advises people not to feed the bears, remove or secure all potential food sources “within easy reach,” remove all uneaten pet food and bring dishes inside, clean up bird seed and feeders, do not leave garbage containers outside overnight, clean grills after using them, do not place meat, fruit or sweet materials in your compost pile as it will attract the bears, and to beware that bears can smell food inside a vehicle.
The “Living with Bears” section also instructs residents to protect their bees, gardens, animals, and to take caution when camping around bears.
The site warns people not to approach bears and says, “Bears will usually flee from people and move away silently. If you approach from downwind, a bear may not immediately recognize you as a human and may be curious until it scents you. Make the animal aware of you by clapping, talking, or making other sounds.”
It says that “Black bears will sometimes ‘bluff-charge’ people when they are attempting to protect or raid a food source, when cornered or threatened, or when courting or mating. Do not run or crouch down but stand your ground and then move slowly away.”
MassWildlife says that predatory attacks by black bears are very rare but have occurred in Alaska, Canada, and rarely elsewhere.
Chief Meaney said that, if needed, further updates on the black bear spotted in Medfield will be posted on the town website.