The wild black bear that failed to dodge traffic on a four-lane road near Springfield Wednesday and failed to elude a tranquilizing dart Thursday, tried once again yesterday morning to become a part of suburban life. But, for the third and probably the last time the bear failed.
Fairfax County chief animal warden John H. Smith, who has been chasing the 220-pound, 4-year-old black bear around the county for three days, said yesterday's aborted bear escape was precipitated by the mistaken belief that a dog cage was strong enough to contain the animal.
Smith, who on Thursday fired one tranquilizing dart into the bear as it walked around behind the Brookfield Plaza shopping center on Backlick Road, said the bear made his escape about 5:30 a.m. yesterday.
The bear broke open the stainless steel doors of the county's strongest dog cage, the warden said.
The bear then scaled an 8-foot-high chain link fence surrounding the county's animal shelter on West Ox Road, according to Smith. For the third time in as many days, five police cars and seven game wardens took up the hunt.
Smith again tranquilized the bear about an hour later in a wooded area near the animal shelter. The bear, which was hit Wednesday without apparent injury by two cars on Old Keene Mill Road, was taken to the Shenandoah Valley yesterday afternoon by the Virginia State Game Commission. The bear, Smith said, probably came from that area.
Smith said he was glad to see the bear go. "I'd like to rest a couple of days before I see another one," he said.