Shots fired after three bears raid rural Placer County chicken coop

Fish & Game says no bruins injured but Loomis property owner believes at least one bear hit
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Three bears were shot at after rampaging through a Loomis-area chicken coop but escaped into the darkness Thursday. While a state Fish & Game Department spokesman said the adult female and two cubs were uninjured, the owner of the property off Rock Springs Road said he felt at least one of the bears had been wounded. Kyle Orr, of Fish & Game, said one of the bears had killed a chicken and the resident acted lawfully in protecting his poultry. The department won’t investigate, he said. “The resident indicated that he had shot at the bears in the trees at his residence,” Orr said. “The warden monitored the bears in the trees and there was no evidence that the bears were struck by the bullets.” Floyd Giaccani said he fired a 9 mm pistol at the bears and probably hit at least one of them – a cub that was slow to come down from a tree after the other two had done so and made noises for it to follow. Sometime overnight Thursday, it did come down, he said. Giaccani added that two birds were killed in the initial attack and a third – a prized show rooster was missing – went missing overnight Thursday after he had put it back in the coop. A hunter, Giaccani said he doesn’t believe in killing bears in the woods. “I let them go and leave them alone,” he said. “But this is a different situation. We have chickens, dogs, there is livestock in the area and what happens if my 11-year-old son is out there locking them up one evening?” Suzanne Giaccani said one of the birds killed was her pet, a hen named Chloe, while another was their son’s pet rooster, Snowball. The family has about 20 birds that are a source of income through egg sales. The neighborhood is located off Choctaw Trace, about a mile south of the Rock Spring Road-Interstate 80 crossing and about two miles from Penryn's main business area. On Oct. 19, an adult bear and two cubs were spotted in a Granite Bay neighborhood near Folsom Lake. “We didn’t think we were in bear country but now we do,” Suzanne Giaccani said. Farther into the foothills, Auburn residents have reported several visits by bears. Tim Hagerty, in the Shirland Tract area on the lip of the American River canyon south of Auburn, said a bear climbed a fence to get into his poultry coop and kill five chickens about two weeks ago. Hagerty said that he was frustrated when he contacted the state Fish and Game Department to report the incident but was told that he should get in touch with the county Animal Services Division. When he called the Animal Services Division, he was told Fish and Game should have been contacted. Kyle Orr, spokesman for Fish and Game, said Hagerty was correct in contacting his department. “We do want to know about bear activity, to ensure we’re monitoring it, even though it may not necessarily be a public safety issue,” Orr said. While Hagerty said he wasn't considering shooting the bears, he did want to let authorities know they were killing chickens on his property. Hagerty has lived in the Shirland Tract area and raised chickens for the past three years without any past incidents with bears attacking poultry. Neighbors reported in early September that his dog treed a bear at the front of his house while he was at work. “I wanted to let Fish and Game know they have a nuisance bear,” Hagerty said. “If no one reports problems to them then there is no problem. It’s gone from knocking garbage cans over to breaking in and eating chickens.” Orr said the number to call to report bears to Fish and Game in the region is 916-358-2900. The department advises that if you get a recording to phone back because there is only one line.