LIVONIA TOWNSHIP, Minn. (WCCO) – Livonia Township, east of Zimmerman, Minn. is a rural area with many of its homes surrounded by forest.

Black bear sightings have been reported there before. Resident Kim Hinrichs knows the risk.

“I think they’ll attack because they have cubs. That’s what’s scary is when they have babies,” said Hinrichs.

But early Monday morning, a sighting turned into a confrontation.

The DNR said a 7-foot black bear and its three cubs wandered onto a yard along 261st Ave. and began eating out of a bird feeder.

The family’s 14-year-old black Pomeranian was on the porch. The DNR said the mother bear took notice, wandered up to the dog, sniffed it, and then attacked and killed it.

“With the refuge being around here and the way the bears have been moving around closer to the suburbs, it doesn’t surprise me at all,” said neighbor Craig Hinrichs.

Black bears are on the move from April through October.

The DNR said the black bears are after everything from bird seed, to garbage, to the grill. This is why they suggest locking all of it inside at night.

Because this particular bear may still be on the loose in Livonia Township, the DNR handed out instructions on what to do if she comes onto your property. They also left voicemail messages for homeowners.

Bear attacks on people and pets are rare, but this neighborhood learned the hard way that they can happen.

“It definitely would be kind of surprising to see that happen,” said Craig.

The DNR also wants to remind people that black bears are attracted to bird seed left on the ground, as well as dog and cat food.

Neighbors believe this bear has lived in the area for years, but has mostly kept its distance.

John Lauritsen