Reporter: Rachel Schaerr l Videographer: Todd Densmore
Lynchburg, VA - Animal Control is asking you bring those bird feeders, trash cans and pet food inside with the number of bear sightings up in the area.
In the last two months the Lynchburg police department has received 10 reports of bear sightings, mostly in the Boonsboro area.
Joseph Ruck lives on Trents Ferry Road and says a few weeks ago he heard a loud crashing sound outside and saw a black bear knocking over his trash cans.
His family has joined other neighbors in the area, taking extra precautions like securing their trash cans and removing bird feeders.
Jim Bowman with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says those steps are important because otherwise bears could associate a house with food.
"Over time they can become more problematic, more aggressive and do property damage because they may try to get into a house," he said.
In at least one instance, a few weeks ago, Bowman says a bear pushed open an unlocked door, entered the basement, and left once the homeowner's dog started barking.
One neighbor says if the bear comes back, she'll be ready with a BB gun in hand.
If you do come across a bear, wildlife experts say you should leave it alone. Bears are usually afraid of humans and will leave once they see you. If you see a bear in your neighborhood you can call Animal Control at 434-847-1602.