When two Nanaimo residents were woken by their dog “barking like crazy” at 3:45 a.m. Saturday morning, they figured an animal had gotten into the house, but were surprised to learn who their visitors were.
Jacqueline Kellam says she was sound asleep when her dog started barking.
“Because we had a neighbourhood cat get in through the pet door a couple weeks ago I just bolted out of bed,” Jacqueline said. “Bolted out of the room, expected to see a cat, didn’t see a cat saw a bear.”
Jacqueline says it took her a second to realise what she was seeing, but when she did she shouted out bear and her husband Michael Kellam called 911.
Michael says after a few minutes the house seemed quiet, so he went back outside to turn on the lights while they waited for police to show up.
“It was snowing, it’s late at night we have a pretty brutal driveway to get up I didn’t know how quick they’d get here. I wanted to be able to give them a little information,” Michael said. “I reopened the door carefully looked out down the hall hit the light switch and very slowly and cautiously proceeded down the hallway.”
As he made his way through the house, Michael says he would turn on lights as he went. As he went, he also surveyed the damage.
“The wine rack was tipped over we had some bird food that was spilled over and bag was ripped open and as I stood here kind of assessing that I could hear some snuffling sounds from the back hall so made another fairly hasty retreat back to the bedroom and closed the door again,” Michael said.
After a few more minutes, he headed back into the house and proceeded through to the back door where he found a “big gaping hole” where the pet door was.
He says that’s when police showed up.
Michael and Jacqueline say at this point they thought only one bear had been in the house, but when they watched security footage they learned the truth.
“We had three bears in the house. Mom and two cubs, one fairly big, one a little bit smaller,” Michael said. “And looking at the timestamps on the videos the little one was in our house for an hour.”
In security videos, Michael says the mom holds open the flap of the pet door for the two cubs to get in.
“She holds the flap of the door open and gives the first club a little boost to get him in through the door. It’s like she knew what she was doing,” Michael said. “Second one had a hard time getting through…he struggled a little bit to get through but did and that’s when mom when kinda crazy could see her getting quite agitated at them being on the inside and her stuck on the outside.”
He says the mom then stuck her head inside and started pulling stuff out, like the entrance carpets and boots.
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Police alerted conservation, who showed up shortly after and said this would be a concern.
“They said obviously when bears are getting in people’s houses, that’s a big issue for them. So they’ve got a bear trap now on our driveway,” Michael said. “They said bears get habituated pretty quickly to a source of food and the one officer was like, ‘yeah, they’re coming back for sure.’ So that’s a little nerve wracking.”
Jacqueline says their Nanaimo house on Meadow Drive is in “bear territory” so seeing bears around the property is not unusual.
“But you never really expect to see a bear in your house,” she said. “One of the first things we thought of was okay, maybe we get a new door, and so we’ve got the temporary fix, and I think that’s pretty solid.”
The couple usually keeps a bowl full of fruit, which Jacqueline says was empty.
“They just had a good snack on some fruit and all the oranges were eaten,” she said. “I guess they were having a pretty good time while they were in here and getting nice full tummies.”
-With files from CHEK’s Dean Stoltz