Bear Gonna Bear: Aspen Restaurant Manager Bit, Then Fined

MCT /Landov

A restaurant in Aspen was fined for the second time Sunday after a bear broke into the restaurant's dumpster and attacked its manager after he tried to scare the bear out of the dumpster. 

Steakhouse No. 316 was fined for failing to bear-proof its dumpsters. The manager said that bear had visited the trash bin the previous four or five nights, but he had not contacted police or wildlife officials, according to a police report.

“They essentially left an open invite and extended an invitation for this bear to come back and visit this property, and that’s frustrating for us,” said Matt Yamashita, Colorado Parks and Wildlife wildlife manager. “It doesn’t change the fact that the bear caused physical harm to a person and where we don’t have any discretion.”   

If found, the bear will be euthanized, Yamashita said. 

The restaurant manager’s pants will be used by CPW to collect DNA from the bear with the hopes that the agency will be able to identify the correct bear. 

The police report also indicated that the officer could smell alcohol on the breath of the manager. CPR was unable to reach the restaurant for comment before publishing this story. 

This was the third bear attack in Aspen this year. It's been an especially busy bear year, said Mike Tracey, sergeant with the Aspen Police Department. The severity of fines for leaving trash bins unlocked increases with each fine, he said. Ultimately, businesses or individuals will be summoned by the court if they continue to leave their trash unlocked.

“Bears are just being bears, they're just trying to make a living. They're being instinctive, and if they find an easy source of food they're gonna keep coming back,” said Mike Porras, CPW spokesperson. “But if people do the right thing, they will reduce those kinds of conflicts. Nobody wants to see a bear die simply because somebody couldn't put away their bird feeder or secure their trash.”