SC DNR euthanizes bear in Johnsonville after finding animal shot

Video from News13 viewer Chris Boone 

JOHNSONVILLE, SC (WBTW) – SC DNR officials say the bear spotted in Florence County Monday was euthanized Tuesday morning after officials found the animal wounded in the woods.

Emergency responders received several calls Monday afternoon after Johnsonville residents spotted a large black bear wandering around the city limits. Johnsonville Police Chief Ron Douglass confirms police were called around 3:30 p.m. about a large black bear on the loose.

Chief Douglass says this isn’t the first time they’ve dealt with a bear loose in the city. About a year or so ago, they were faced with the same challenge.

Crews tried to corral the animal and lead him back into the woods, but the bear kept moving into people’s yards and getting trapped and confused. About an hour and a half later, they finally got him back into the wooded area.

SC DNR was there trying to move the bear and the fire department also came in to help.

Lieutenant Benjy Byers with the SC DNR says officials realized the bear was wounded late Monday afternoon and located the animal lying in the woods Monday night.

The bear was “lethargic” and blood was found in the woods, Lt. Byers said.

Instead of pursuing the bear in the woods Monday night, SC DNR officials decided to wait until Tuesday to see if the bear left the city. When SC DNR went back the next day, the bear was still in the same area on the ground, only moving its head, so officials made the decision to euthanize the animal.

“We were not just going to let the bear lay there and suffer. In our professional opinion, we decided to euthanize the bear,” said Lt. Byers.

David Lucas with the SC DNR says the bear was shot, and authorities know who is accused of the shooting.

The facts and circumstances around the shooting are still being investigated. No charges have been issued yet as the investigation is ongoing by the SCDNR’s Law Enforcement Division.

News13 viewer Angela Poston captured this video of the bear on West Marion Street.