Bear Sighting in West Knoxville

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) -- Wildlife resources tells us a bear is currently on the loose in West Knoxville.

On Sunday evening, the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency set a trap to capture him.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford talked with the neighbors who want the bear gone as soon as possible.

A quiet and secluded neighborhood located just off Sutherland Avenue at Forest View Drive and Renford Road.

That West Knoxville neighborhood was all those things until a recent intruder moved in.

"It was Friday night and my wife and I were walking our dogs around the cul de sac and we saw a bear down there, kind of eating some food at the other house," said Michael Catalana.

Catalana says the bear saw them and started running in the opposite direction, exactly what he and his wife did.

"The neighbor over there opened his door and told us to come inside cause we had our dogs, and we went running inside," Catalana said.

He says this weekend has been anything but typical for them and their two dogs...

"We don't let the dogs out anymore and obviously we don't take walks until something's done about it," Catalana said.

"It was a big bear," said Dwayne Gideon.

Gideon says he hasn't spotted the black bear yet, but neighbors warned him immediately because of his two young daughters.

"The bear might attack the girls or he might hurt them by accident more than anything," Gideon said.

Six year old Vanessa and ten year old Christina say they're leery about playing outside now without their dad around.

"I'm kind of afraid cause I don't like the bear," Vanessa said.

"I try not to go in the back of the forest, cause in the backyard there's all these trees and stuff," Christina said.

Christina hasn't actually seen the bear in person, but she can still imagine what it must be like.

"Last night I had a dream that I was in the backyard and I saw the bear," Christina said. "I like banged on the door in the backyard and the bear kept chasing me."

Neighbors are hoping Christina's dream never becomes a reality.

"I don't think the bear needs to be killed or anything, Catalana said. "It just needs to be taken to a safer environment for him, so it's safer for us."

TWRA tells us they're confident they'll catch the bear, but until then, they ask all residents in that area to keep food and garbage up.

They say once they trap it, they expect to take it to the Cherokee National Forest in Cleveland.


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