UPDATED: Man Shoots at Bear That Attacks Dog at West Hartford Reservoir

Dog has been treated at an emergency veterinary hospital in Avon and is expected to recover.

UPDATED: 1:15 p.m.

The MDC reservoir was reopened as of noon today, although West Harford Police report that neither they nor the DEEP have successfully located the bear that allegedly attacked a dog early this morning.

According to police, the dog that was attacked was a 6-year-old schnauzer belonging to Dan Sweeney, 29, of Harwich Lane in West Hartford. Sweeney told police that he "fired his handgun several times at the bear in an attempt to save his dog." He said that once the bear ran off into the woods, he was able to retrieve his dog and bring it the VCA Avon Emergency Animal Hospital.

According to police, the dog is expected to recover.

MDC is currently investigating the incident. West Hartford Police report that there is no evidence that any of the shots struck the bear.

Dave Mackellar of Hartford, formerly of West Hartford, set off to walk his dog, Guinness, shortly after noon in the area of the reservoir where the incident occurred earlier Monday morning.

"I come up here all the time because no one is around. You can't predict where bears are going to be, but who packs heat when they're walking up here," Mackellar said. Guinness, a large sandy-colored dog that Mackellar said is predominantly lab, was on a leash as the two set off for their walk.


UPDATED: 10:30 a.m.

Police are still searching for the bear that attacked a dog early Monday morning on MDC property south of Albany Ave. in West Hartford.

According to information received from The Metropolitan District (MDC), officials have closed the "West Hartford Water Treatment Facility and reservoir/recreation areas located at 1420 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford, while West Hartford Police Department and the CT DEEP investigate a reported bear sighting on the property early this morning."

Kerry Martin, MDC spokesperson, said that the bear was reportedly heading south toward the main entrance of the facility, and officials are preventing access for safety reasons.

West Hartford Police are stationed on Albany Ave., denying access to the reservoir property from that location. Reservoir #6, which is on the opposite side of Albany Ave., remains open.

According to Lt. Jeff Rose of the West Hartford Police, police have identified the site of the shooting, about 1/4 mile south of Albany Ave. No blood was found at the scene, Rose said.

The man who shot at the bear has been identified as Dan Sweeney of West Hartford, but no other information is yet available. According to Rose, Sweeney has now taken the dog to his own veterinarian.

Rose confirmed that the dog was off-leash when the incident occurred. "Rules and Regulations" for public use of the West Hartford Reservoirs and Reservoir #6 specifically state that "dogs must controlled and on a leash."

The regulations also specifically prohibit "carrying or discharging firearms or dangerous weapons."

Rose said that it is currently "business as usual" at nearby Renbrook School, where summer camp is in session.

"Everyone should be vigilant," Rose cautioned. Although it is not known whether one of the bullets actually hit the bear was injured, he said people should never approach injured animals.



A man walking a dog at the MDC Reservoir property shot at a bear early Monday morning after it attacked the dog, police said.

According to Lt. Jeff Rose of the , the man was walking the dog on MDC property on the south side of Albany Ave., near Old Stone Crossing and Renbrook School, an area known to many runners and bikers as "the berm."

The incident was reported at 6:41 a.m. According to Rose, the man shot at the bear several times. Details are still unclear, and Rose said that some neighbors reported hearing four shots. He is unsure about the breed of the dog, but thinks it may be a schnauzer.

Rose said that the man was not injured, and the bear ran off. He did not know if the bear was hit. Police are on the scene now, and are trying to locate the bear, Rose said.

The dog was taken to at 9 Avonwood Rd in Avon. A nurse at the animal hospital said, "We are in the middle of stabilizing the dog here."

Rose said the only other incident he recalls where someone shot at a bear in West Hartford occurred in May 1990.

Bob July 20, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Just one example here but, it's achilles Thomas. Your argument is always more convincing if you spell correctly. Don't think our forefathers had assault rifles in mind. Spelling correctly, or not,... I don't think your words would be well received by the victims families. Do you?
Karen's Dog Training Blog July 20, 2012 at 08:43 PM
@ Saul - comment is unneccessary and silly. .
Andrew Ziemba July 20, 2012 at 08:55 PM
The founding fathers wanted a nation that, at any time, had the firepower to forcefully and violently overthrow a tyrannical government. I don't care if you are a liberal or a conservative, or an anarchist, you are an absolute lunatic if you think that they would have envisioned that in 2012 the government and police forces would have 20-1 firepower as they do today! To name a few, they have microwave cannons, sound cannons, unmanned drones, RPGs, tanks...and you are worried about law abiding citizens carrying assault rifles? Seriously?
Thomas E. Brown July 20, 2012 at 09:25 PM
It think that if our forefathers had assault rifles, they would have embraced the technology and kept the crown out for good. Typical left wing response, attack the messenger's spelling and not the message. It is pathetic to leverage your cause off of the victims families. It would be a shame to miss a perfectly good mass murder as an opportunity to advance gun control. The communist takeover is almost complete! The only guns were in the hands of the bad guy. Again, right from the playbook of using victims to further your agenda. If you don't have victims, create them by fomenting class warfare, the haves vs have nots, gays vs straights, blacks vs whites, progressives vs conservatives choice vs pro choice. Make the peoples head spin and dodge the real issues that are upon us. Maybe we should all drop our differences, chant at a crystal together and hope the problem of evil doers will go away. Or maybe we should arm ourselves and the evil doers will stay away.
Paul Chotkowski July 20, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Recall a similar act of violence in December of 2007, at a Colorado Springs church. Matthew J. Murray shot and killed four people at two locations and wounded 5 before he was stopped by the returned fire of Ms. Jeanne Assam, an armed church member attending services. Guns don't kill people, people do! And though it is not the wild west you have a choice, be a sheep or be a sheep dog [168, 000 CT residents have chosen to be part of the solution] because there will always be wolves. If you are hoplophobic seek treatment. Banning firearms is not the solution to your fear. The analogue would be a dystychiphobic or methyphobic seeking to ban cars and alcohol after someone is killed by a drunk driver going the wrong way down 84. Society would roll their eyes at the significantly more frequent later but they sometime seriously consider the former. Let me be clear the CO shooter is a monster. My prayers are with the victim's families and friends. But this is indicative of something greater, there is a hole in the soul of America. Don’t blame the gun, don’t even blame Hollywood, if you must blame, blame the breakdown of the family and civil society, blame the fact that we seek respect from others rather than acting in a way that deserve respect, blame the fact that we don’t teach / follow the golden rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”! All our words about the bear and the deceased schnauzer are a little silly when run thru the lens of Aurora.


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