New Milford

Conn. Woman Whose Pigs Fended Off Bear in Viral Video Says Bears Keep Returning

The owner and her son have implemented several different tactics, including installing sirens and cameras and even sleeping in their own car next to the pigpen

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A New Milford woman is doing everything she can to protect her two pigs from bears.

NBC Connecticut first brought you the story of Hammy and Mary three weeks ago in a viral video showing the two pigs fending off a bear that climbed into their pen.

There have been a lot of sleepless nights since for Rebecca Shaw and her son Kevin, who both told NBC Connecticut that the bears have been constantly coming back since the viral video.

"He's been back several times, but just two nights ago, he did a lot of damage, he tried getting in again," said Rebecca Shaw. "It's been very stressful, and my son and I have not gotten a lot of sleep."

Pet pigs in New Milford fought back when a bear tried to attack and they sent the bear running. Video courtesy of Rebecca Shaw.
Pet pigs in New Milford fought back when a bear tried to attack and they sent the bear running. Video courtesy of Rebecca Shaw.

The bears' latest return was early Sunday morning. Shaw and her son have implemented several different tactics, including installing sirens and cameras and even sleeping in their own car next to the pigpen.

"We keep an eye on them because the bear actually got behind the fence and ripped it right out," said Kevin Shaw. "They're family — they're like my brothers and sisters."

Rebecca Shaw told NBC Connecticut she reached out to Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

"The man that I spoke with said the bear would have to kill the pigs or hurt one of us humans on the property to warrant them to come out," said Rebecca Shaw.

"Whatever I’ve got to do to save my pigs, 100%, I would choose my pigs over the bear, 100%, and I would feel bad for the bear — I don’t want to hurt the bears, I appreciate them, but I can’t watch them maul my pigs either,” Shaw continued.

NBC Connecticut reached out to CT D.E.E.P., who issued this statement:

"DEEP’s response guidelines depend on a number of factors. For situations where a bear does minor property damage and it is the first occurrence, or gets into an unprotected livestock enclosure, the response can range from providing information to the property owner about how to minimize the likelihood of conflicts (i.e. removing food attractants, or installing electric fencing), up to on-site aversion conditioning or relocation and aversion conditioning."

"DEEP staff weigh the factors of the situation in line with our response guidelines and make a determination. If a bear damages a person’s property, or if folks have specific questions about bears, they should contact the DEEP Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011," the statement continued.

Besides the alarms and other tactics, Rebecca mentioned that she and her son plan to install electric fencing to fend off any future bears.

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